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An England international arrives and we go into 2nd - 30/01/2003

An England international arrives and we go into 2nd
   Jonathan Woodgate

It’s been a big 24 hours for the club with a good, good, win at Tottenham and now the news that Jonathan Woodgate is joining us. When I came to this club I knew it was possible that we’d be competing with the best in the country. Some five years later and we’re into the second phase of Champions League football, we’re second in the Premiership, and we’re buying big.

It was disappointing not to start last night's game, but I understand the team is playing differently away from home. I was happy with my game when I came off the bench and when we got the win and looked at the table, you can’t help but get excited. That’s three games without conceding a goal and a 1-0 win is a win! We used to win them 4-2, and although I’d prefer to play in the open, attacking games that end 4-2, the most important thing for the team is to get the three points – and that’s what we did.

We’ve now got Middlesbrough on Saturday and have to make sure that we get something from the game. There’s a lot of excitement, especially with the Woodgate signing, and we have to re-focus and put in another performance like last night’s. Middlesbrough had a bad result against Villa and we know that we may face a reaction to that. We’ll be expecting them to be ready and to give us a good test, but because we’re expecting it, we can plan and focus.

I’ve always said that every game is hard in this league. People talk about the title and I think it’s very early to make suggestions like that. It can go both ways with us visiting a number of teams fighting for relegation like West Brom, Sunderland, and even Fulham. These games will definitely not be easy. We’ve also playing some of the best teams in the country at St. James, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea. So whilst you can say it’s in our hands, you also have to know that these games will only be won if we put in our best performances all the time. To reach such a consistent level and to keep it is very, very tough. We’ll give it our best shot, but I think it’s too early to talk of the title. Let's look at the situation at the end of March, by then we’d have played Arsenal, Leeds, and Chelsea and we'll be in a much better position to make a more accurate prediction.

As for the Woodgate signing, I know that he’s a special player, and England international and I’m sure he’ll help the club move forward. I’m looking forward to meeting him and when he’s fit, to see what he can do for the team. These are good times for Newcastle United and I want to play my part.

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