Determined to battle for position - 21/08/2003
Robbie Elliott refuses to accept his Newcastle career is over after surviving a summer of uncertainty to cement his place in Sir Bobby Robson's squad.
The Gosforth-born defender remains one of five players on United's transfer list and several clubs are considering approaches prior to the closure of this month's transfer window. However, Elliott insists he is unaware of any official moves during the last three months and points to his recall to the first-team squad ahead of last week's trip to Belgrade as evidence that he still has a future on Tyneside.
The left-back, who was given the responsibility of captaining Tommy Craig's reserves against Darlington on Tuesday, explained: "My inclusion in the squad for the Champions League qualifier was a massive boost. "It might have gone unnoticed by many people and I know I only made the bench. But just being there meant a lot to me and proved I am not as far away from the first team as some people may think. "I'm not kidding myself that I'm pushing for a recall - I know I was only called up because of last-minute withdrawals and injuries. "However, I made the most of my involvement and it was another memorable experience. I hope I showed the manager that I am still committed to Newcastle United even if the club is keen to sell me."
Elliott was signed on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers in 2001 but started just one match for his hometown club last season as Aaron Hughes and Olivier Bernard jostled for the left back berth. And, while it is difficult to imagine when the former Under-21 international can expect to taste first team action again there is a strong case for keeping one of Newcastle's most popular players involved at senior level.
Elliott is keen to pass his experience on to the club's emerging players and added: "There are kids who need to be encouraged and I'm happy to do that. I appreciated an older player's advice when I was coming through but I would have killed to play in the same reserve side as the likes of Lomana LuaLua, Clarence Acuna, Titus Bramble and Carl Cort. "I'm glad the manager hasn't excluded me altogether just because I've been transfer-listed. I could easily have been overlooked." Elliott expects to be watching Saturday's Premiership clash against Manchester United from the stands but one of the fittest players on the club's books is ready to step in when needed in the campaign.
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