Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Emre Ready for Action ( Roeder

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Emre Ready for Action ( Roeder

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Emre will make his long-awaited comeback this evening with Glenn Roeder adamant the troubled Turk possesses sufficient mental strength to ensure the racism allegations which continue to dog him do not affect his performance.

The 26-year-old has not made a first-team appearance since New Year's Day but, having finally recovered from an injured calf, the former Inter Milan midfielder will return to Newcastle's senior squad for the first leg of tonight's Uefa Cup last-16 encounter with AZ Alkmaar.

With his nine-week absence having coincided with an FA racial abuse charge, the player's psychological state has been scrutinised in as much detail as his physical condition in recent days.

And, having insisted that a return to full training has enabled the under-pressure schemer to put his forthcoming hearing out of his mind, Roeder will have no qualms about involving Emre in a game with great significance to United's season. "Emre wants to play," explained a manager who last night admitted he was considering including his talented number five from the start against Louis van Gaal's Eredivisie high-flyers.

"He is much more relaxed now and he is happy within himself again. The accusations made against him were initially a big shock to his system. But he's fine now and, over the last month or so, he has shown a lot of mental strength.

"Starting to get fit again has helped Emre. Getting back out there on the training ground and playing football again has helped.

"Emre is a professional footballer and that is how he makes his living. While he has been out injured, he has had too much thinking time. Now he is out there on the grass again doing what he loves to do and, while I can't speak for him, I would guess that that has taken his mind off it all."

Emre must face an FA commission on March 19 following claims that he racially abused an Everton player during Newcastle's 3-0 defeat at Goodison Park in December. …

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