Pardew urges Trap to keep in-form Best in mind

Damian Spellman

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has told Ireland counterpart Giovanni Trapattoni he might be surprised by in-form striker Leon Best.

The Magpies frontman was notable by his absence for the recent qualifiers against Andorra and Armenia despite having scored three times in his club's fine start to the Premier League season.

Asked about Best in Dublin last week, Trapattoni insisted he had not forgotten him, but having watched him play in Newcastle's 2-1 win at Wolves a couple of days earlier, said he needed to work harder for his team before he was recalled to the international stage.

That came as a surprise to Pardew, who has recommended the 25-year-old to the veteran Italian as he begins preparations for next month's Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia, with Kevin Doyle suspended and Robbie Keane facing a race against time to be fit.

Pardew said of Trapattoni's assessment of Best: "That did surprise me. I thought he played very well that day (at Wolves) and I thought he worked very hard for the team. If he picked Leon Best, he might be surprised."

Best and his team-mates will attempt to extend their unbeaten start to the new season to 10 games in all competitions and eight in the league when Tottenham visit St James' Park tomorrow.

The Magpies occupy fourth place in the table, a position significantly above their target for the campaign, but one to which they are clinging on gamely.

Despite the calm that has descended over Tyneside, Pardew admitted from the off that he has had to win over the dissenters.

Pardew said: "I wouldn't be sitting here saying I have won them over. It's just important they are sensing that we have got a plan and we are trying to put it in place. Sunday will be a watershed for us because we are in good form and we are playing one of the top teams."