Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Faye Is Not Fazed by Fight for Place

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Faye Is Not Fazed by Fight for Place

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Amdy Faye will keep his starting place in Newcastle United's midfield against Liverpool today, but admitted he faces one of the biggest challenges of his career to hold on to it.

Faye is expected to receive the nod from United manager Graeme Souness this morning to line up alongside Lee Bowyer in the centre of Newcastle's engine room.

But, with England internationals Nicky Butt and Jermaine Jenas both kicking their heels on the bench, the Senegalese international knows he is under constant pressure for his place.

And, having been automatic starter at Portsmouth and Auxerre, the 27-year-old admitted the ferocity of competition for places at United is a new experience.

He said: "It is tough, but it is not a problem. I am a professional, and when you are a professional and you play for a big club, you know you have to give your best in every game to keep your place.

"Everybody understands that and I know that the only way I will keep my place is to work hard.

"We have some very good players at the club, especially in midfield, and if you do not play well, you know there is always someone to take your place."

Faye's pounds 2.2m purchase during the January transfer window had to be vigorously defended by Souness following accusations that he had made a panic buy in response to fears that Butt's hamstring injury could rule him out until the summer.

Nevertheless, the Scot's view appears to have been justified by a player who first rose to prominence in the 2002 World Cup, following a string of solid, if unspectacular, performances in the midfield holding role.

Indeed, Faye's performance during the 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers last weekend should be enough to keep the more experienced Butt out of the side this afternoon.

But it remains to be seen how long the former Manchester United star will be content to play second-fiddle in the North-East, especially as he left Old Trafford to gain regular first-team football.

Faye acknowledged his team-mate would be desperate to break back into the starting XI as quickly as possible when he said: "It is a big, big challenge for me. …

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