Cheick Tiote insists he has plenty to offer Newcastle as he approaches full fitness after an injury-hit year so far.
Against Norwich on Sunday, the midfielder started his first game since New Year’s Day, with Steve McClaren finally now able to select the player he first worked with at FC Twente.
Tiote has also been dogged by rumours over his desire to remain at St James’ Park having been labelled a “bad egg” in the Newcastle dressing room by Daily Express journalist John Richardson.
McClaren has rejected such talk while Tiote is just glad to be playing football again.
He said: “It was good for me to be back. I had 45 minutes, so I have to have some more time. After another game, I think I will be in my best shape. It’s not easy. You have to work hard to come back.
“I just stay positive and do my work to get back fit and play football.”
Tiote was asked if he still had a “lot to offer” the Magpies: “Yes, like everyone.”
“We have to perform on the pitch. It was very important to get more confidence [in the 6-2 win over Norwich]. I think we can build on that on Sunday.”
“I just want to play.”
“I had my injury, and now I’m back. I will continue playing. Everyone wants to play, and that’s the only thing I want to do. I want to do my job on the pitch.”