TODAY is Davide Santon’s birthday and the Italian knows what presents he wants – starting with three points tonight and a new right-back for Newcastle.
DAVIDE Santon thinks the arrival of much-needed defensive reinforcements at St James’ Park will not only improve Newcastle United but his own game too.
There is nothing like a bit of competition to sharpen the mind, but if the Magpies sign Mathieu Debuchy this week it will provide Santon with clarity rather than uncertainty.
The France right-back is expected to be in the stands watching tonight’s Premier League visit of Everton ahead of a medical tomorrow.
As well as strengthening a backline breached 11 times last week, Debuchy’s arrival should also clear up Santon’s long-term future.
The Italian moved to Tyneside in the summer José Enrique left, inheriting his No.3 shirt.
Santon is a right-footer – obviously so at times – who has filled in at right-back on occasions. Even last month, manager Alan Pardew was unsure which position he would end up playing regularly.
“What will determine Santon’s future role more than anything is the players I bring in,” he told The Journal. “That will determine whether he becomes a right-back or left-back for us.”
With Danny Simpson breaking his toe at Arsenal, Santon could conceivably play right-back this evening.
However, assuming no unexpected hitches prevent a transfer Newcastle and Debuchy have been very keen on for most of 2012, it seems Santon can adjust to the mindset of a left-back.
It will, he says, involve more work on the training ground than between his ears.
He said: “I have been playing left-back regularly and, if we sign a new player, it looks like that will continue.
“If that happens, I can concentrate more on playing left-back and work harder on crossing the ball with my left foot. It will be good for me.” Santon has more pressing concerns after being part of a defence which conceded four at Manchester United, seven at Arsenal.
A happy Christmas it was not. It only highlighted how badly Newcastle need Debuchy and the centre-back Pardew also hopes to buy.
“The people in charge know what they have to do,” added Santon diplomatically.
“We know we need more players and if they come we will be happy. If anyone comes in, they have to help us to finish the season as best we can.
“Particularly in defence, we have not much cover, but it looks like we’re going to sign a player and that would be good news.
“We’re disappointed with the results over Christmas. In both games we were great in attack and we scored six goals, but our defending was not very good.
“At Arsenal, once we went 4-3 down, it was as if Newcastle weren’t on the pitch. I didn’t have a very good game either. I want to play my best against Everton and I especially want to make sure Newcastle win.
“The Everton game now becomes massive for us and it’s important we give something back to the fans who travelled to Manchester and to Arsenal over Christmas.