Newcastle United outcast Henri Saivet has spoken out for the first time since returning from a loan spell in France, stating his desire to play for Newcastle United and take the chance he feels he will get under Rafa Benitez if he keeps working hard.
The Senegalese international arrived from Bordeaux in the January window last year, signing a five and a half year deal on Tyneside.
Steve McClaren’s NUFC were embroiled in a fight for survival at the time, and following his sacking and Benitez’s appointment, the midfielder lost his place in the team and was sent out on loan to Ligue 1 side St.Etienne during our recent stint in the Championship.
Saivet was handed a place in Rafa Benitez’s 25-man squad on his return to St James’ Park this summer, but is yet to feature in the first team this season.
Here’s what the 26-year old has had to say in an impressive interview with The Chronicle this week:
“I want to play for Newcastle United.
“Whenever you pull on a Newcastle shirt it’s an honour. It’s a massive club and when you put the jersey on and get on to the pitch, you have to give 100% – even for the reserves. You want to play well every time.”
“It’s always good to play, make runs and contribute overall. I feel better and better so it was really good for me to get out there.”
I watched Monday night’s U-23 game against Wolves at St James’ Park, where Newcastle handed run outs for Gayle, Aarons, Colback and Saivet. You’d expect our senior players to stand out in such a fixture, but Saivet was the best player on the pitch and it’s good to see him so determined to impress – even if that’s for Peter Beardsley’s second string:
“I have to show him I can play in his team. I have to play very well in each training session or reserve game.
“He has told me to show what I can do and we need everybody in the squad so I will keep going.
“Maybe one day I will get my chance and show what I can do. I know there will be a chance.
“In football you know you can start a season in the stand or on the bench, but finish it in the team.
“You just never know but I am ready to play at any time. I have to stay fit. I will play for the reserves.
“The season is long and it is about improving as you go along so that’s what I’ll do.”
Impressive again from Saivet who sounds so eager to dig in, do everything he can to impress Benitez and get his chance in the team.
Interestingly, The Chronicle have revealed that ‘unlike some players at the club, Rafa Benitez has never had an issue with Saivet’s attitude or ability – he simply prefers other squad members ahead of him.’
Saivet suggests that Benitez has not closed the door on his Newcastle future, so it will be interesting to see if he can impress the Spaniard and force his way into his first team plans.
The Senegal star put in some promising cameos over pre-season and has spoken about how some positive messages from supporters on social media have given him some much needed confidence:
“It always gives you the confidence you need. That is the most important thing in football. If you have confidence you can do whatever you want on the pitch. You have to work and keep going.
“You should never complain about not playing – the most important thing is the squad. We have to win and stay in the Premier League as we’ve just come back.
“It won’t be easy so individuals can’t complain about personal situations. It’s always easier of course when you are fit and can play. You run everywhere and try to do everything.
“Not playing isn’t easy for a footballer. You have to work hard to get back in contention.
“If get my chance I will have to keep my place. I will try my best every time.”
Saivet then spoke about the team spirit in the camp, revealing that the team is going from strength to strength both on and off the pitch:
“The spirit is very, very good.
“We have to work hard and nobody should complain. Everybody is trying to do their best. The team is going to get better and better and that’s the most important thing for us.”
Finally, the 26-year old praised the football club, the city and it’s people – even if he struggles with the weather from time to time!
“It’s a massive club. The city and its people are really nice.
“The weather is different, but the city is really nice no matter what the weather.”
I must say that I am really impressed by Saivet in this interview. He comes across so well and seems so determined to turn his career around at the club.
It’s also worth mentioning that he does have ability. He impressed me during the odd cameo over pre-season, didn’t look out of place in a Europa League match I saw him play with St. Etienne at Old Trafford last season and outshone the likes of Gayle, Aarons and Colback in the U-23 game at St James’ this week.
With Shelvey, Merino and Hayden firmly in Rafa’s plans in the middle of the field, Saivet is up against it to force his way back into the first team fold, but he seems to have the right attitude and good luck to him.
Here’s a little reminder of what he can do!
— LUKE (@luke16taylor) January 19, 2017