It’s shaping up to be an exciting year of sport, but as I don’t really have any interest in the Olympics I’m instead going to focus on the European Championships to be held in the summer.
I’m not even looking at England. No doubt they’ll do the usual early bow out of the competition amid a frenzy of scandalous headlines and shocking behaviour.
Instead I’m looking much closer to home, at Newcastle in fact, and at something that could stand us in good stead for the second half of the season, particularly when you look at players such as Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Tim Krul and Yohan Cabaye .
All four of those will want to be away in Poland and Ukraine representing their countries at the European Championships. Realistically though only Yohan Cabaye is what can be described as a near cert for the French squad, but even then he has to make sure his form doesn’t drop. Tim Krul is on the verge of the Holland squad and may get a call up although he faces competition for a place.
The other two have been forced out of the international through injury mainly. Hatem Ben Arfa used to feature regularly for France before he suffered his horrific leg break last season whilst Davide Santon has also been capped for Italy but a lack of first team games meant that he lost his place in the senior squad and was relegated to the U21’s as a result.
Both of these players are playing for a chance to represent their countries at the Euro’s, but to do so they must first pull out all the stops for Newcastle United and show their international managers that they are worthy of the call.
Obviously that will mean that they will need to perform at the top of their game which will only benefit Newcastle as the season reaches its climax. Imagine a fully fired up Hatem Ben Arfa doing what he does best? Along with Yohan Cabaye proving that he has a right to be in the squad and Davide Santon bombing up and down the wings and generally not letting a lot get past him in defence and Tm Krul pulling off his spectacular saves.
Food for thought and scope for hope surely?