Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Homegrown Stars a Rarity as Metalist's Foreign Legion Arrive

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Homegrown Stars a Rarity as Metalist's Foreign Legion Arrive

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner? (0191) 201-6283 ? stuart.rayner@ncjmedia.co.uk

TECHNICALLY it is England v Ukraine at St James' Park tonight, but it will more like France v South America, old v new.

Much has been made of the Magpies' transformation into a team with an overbearing Gallic flavour, but tonight's Europa League opponents Metalist Kharkiv are no more representative of their own country.

Goalkeeper Olexandr Goryalnov could be the only Ukrainian in Metalist's line-up tonight.

Nine of those in front of him could be either Argentinian or Brazilian, the probable exception Papiss Cisse's Senegal team-mate Papa Gueye. "There could be as many as 10 South American players who start in the team we envisage," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew (pictured right), who presumably does not fancy Gueye's chances of playing.

"They'll have a real high technical quality and two outstanding players. (Cleiton) Xavier, who plays behind the striker, really catches the eye.

"We need to be very focused for 90 minutes. Any slip of concentration, like at Tottenham, is going to be costly."

Brazilian Xavier, a No.10 with a fondness for dribbling, has been one of the stars of this season's Europa League, scoring four goals in five group matches as Metalist edged out Bayer Leverkusen to win their pool on goal difference. Whether you view tonight's last-32 first leg game as European or South American in nature, it will be different in style to Newcastle's domestic football.

Pardew thinks that needs to be reflected in their approach.

He added: "Our stats are very, very different in these games so there is a different feel.

"There's a different kind of knowledge you need and the Premier League is still unique in the way it is set up and we are problematic for European teams. …

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