Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dabizas Seeks Escape Route

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dabizas Seeks Escape Route

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards and Simon Rushworth

Nikos Dabizas has gone back to Greece as his search for an escape route away from Newcastle United continues.

The 29-year-old has made no secret of his desire to leave St James's Park after more than five years, having lost his first-team place following the arrival of Titus Bramble and Jonathan Woodgate.

And the Greek international, who flew home last week to mark the anniversary of his father's death, has linked up with former club Olympiakos for a week's training, with the powerful centre-back suggesting the move could become permanent in the coming weeks.

Greece play Spain in a Euro 2004 qualifier on June 6 and Dabizas, having not played for Newcastle since appearing as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 win at Leeds in February, has linked up with the Athens-based club to top up his physical condition.

"I've asked if I can go back and train with the squad because I haven't played first team football in months and I need to make sure I'm fit for the national side," said Dabizas.

"I'm desperate to be involved in our Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, but to do that I need to be fit and I need to be playing first-team football. I've got to keep in shape and ensure I'm in the best possible shape for Greece this summer.

"At the moment I'm just going back to train with Olympiakos, but I certainly wouldn't rule anything out concerning a move in the future."

Dabizas has made 163 appearances in a black-and- white shirt since joining for pounds 2m in 1998 when former United boss Kenny Dalglish brought him to the Premiership.

And it is only in the last few months that Dabizas has not been a mainstay in the side, something he feels he needs at this stage of his career.

He explained: "I'm 29 and I'm used to being a mainstay in the team. That is why I need to move, but ultimately it is whoever will pay the fee that Newcastle want for me.

"I want to be an integral part of the first-team again. …

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