Mo Diame has spoken out for the first time since his training ground scrap with Jamaal Lascelles last week, reiterating his desire to work hard and fight for his place in Rafa Benitez’s side.
Having previously performed well at Wigan, West Ham and Hull, Diame is no stranger to Premier League football, however he’s yet to start a single one of our opening 7 matches in the league.
He and Ayoze Perez often shared the number 10 slot in the Championship last season, but it’s been the latter whose been given the nod in each and every one of our games thus far, with Diame seeing just 48 minutes of action so far.
Following the widely reported training ground bust up last week, The Chronicle reveal that Benitez has sat down with both Diame and Lascelles – who have since made up – and all parties are now keen to move on.
Good to hear – as is Diame’s attitude here, with the Senegalese midfielder sounding ready to fight for his place in the team after accepting just why he’s struggled to break into the team this season:
“I just have to be patient and keep working and show at every single training session to show that I want to play,”
“When I come on, I need to show that I’m ready and I want to play like everyone.
“To be honest, he’s [Perez is] playing very well. To be honest, all the team is doing a great effort.
“We’ve started most of the games with the same XI, because they have been doing brilliantly. If they are doing brilliantly, it’s good for everyone, because I need to work harder for the team.”
Diame retired from international football earlier in the year. At 30, he clearly felt his was for the best and would help him regain his sharpness and energy levels to perform at club level.
This hasn’t been the case so far, but he remains adamant that it will pay off in the long run, saying he is ‘ready’ to take his chance when Rafa needs him:
“I’ve got my legs now. My legs are back,”
“I’m just waiting. I’m being patient. I have to make sure I’m ready for when the manager needs me.
“When your moment comes, you have to be ready. That’s the most-important thing.”
An intriguing comment from Mo here, claiming he’s now ‘got his legs back’. He has looked quite lethargic and slow of late, so it’ll be interesting to see if he looks any sharper in the weeks ahead. He does often talk well, but the proof will be in the pudding.
I must admit, I was pretty happy when we signed Diame last summer. He was always quite an explosive midfielder at Premier League level and arrived after scoring 10 plus goals in the Championship for Hull.
Disappointingly, it’s really not worked out for him. He’s looked a shadow of his former self and although it’s encouraging to here him sound up for the fight (pardon the pun), with him also claiming his ‘legs are back’, it’s often looked as if the ageing midfielder has lost his legs whenever he’s featured lately.
As long as he’s a Newcastle player I’ll support him, but given his game once relied on marauding runs and powerful, dynamic play, it’s hard to see him returning to that sort of level.