Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Abeid Keen to Play for Both Club and Country; Abeid Set to Play for Algeria

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Abeid Keen to Play for Both Club and Country; Abeid Set to Play for Algeria

Article excerpt

MEHDI Abeid feels committing his international future to Algeria can aid his Newcastle United career, writes LEE RYDER.

The combative teenage midfielder has checked out of the club's Benton base to link up with the Desert Warriors and could be unavailable for United duty until mid-December as Algeria look to clinch a place in the Olympics in the UK next summer.

Abeid has opted for Algeria ahead of his native France, for whom he has been capped at youth level, and believes playing in the Olympic qualifiers - which is an under-23 tournament - in the next fortnight can assist him in his bid for firstteam football at Newcastle.

Abeid is likely to take a step closer to the first-team picture in January when Cheick Tiot is away for African Nations duty in Gabon and Guinea, with Alan Pardew delighted with his development so far after arriving from Racing Club Lens last term.

Abeid told The Journal: "It is a great opportunity for me. The aim is to play first-team football on a regular basis for Newcastle United.

"The chance to play international football can help me to achieve this.

"I am really happy with my decision to join Newcastle.

"It has worked out for me and I could not be happier. It did not take too long to adapt."

Abeid has made just one first-team appearance for the Magpies - in the Carling Cup in the 4-3 win at Nottingham Forest in September.

That night he showed excellent promise and looking back he said: "It was great to play for the first team for the first time.

"You have a really good feeling playing in front of those supporters. After it, I just wanted to be able to do that again."

Abeid has also played four reserveteam games, scoring an outstanding goal against Wigan Athletic last month. Yet he will step up to the very serious business of playing for the Algerians this Sunday when they face their first Olympic qualifier against Senegal in Tangiers as Morocco host the first match on a road which could lead to St James' Park, Old Trafford or even Wembley. …

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