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Euro star Obertan stakes claim for Toon starting spot

European hero Gabriel Obertan has set his sights on the Premier League after providing manager Alan Pardew with a timely reminder of what he can do.

The 23-year-old produced an accomplished finish to see off Club Brugge at St James' Park on Thursday night and put the Magpies in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

It was the latest encouraging display in the competition from the former Manchester United midfielder, who has struggled to force his way into Pardew's strongest starting XI since arriving on Tyneside in August last year.

However, Obertan, who is likely to return to the bench for tomorrow's league clash with West Brom, will not be content simply to be wheeled out for midweek games along with youngsters Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson.

He said: "We don't get to play much in the Premier League, so we wanted to show the gaffer that we could have a starting position in the Premier League.

"I feel I've done pretty well in the Europa League and I'll wait for that position to come. I'm not going to give up. I trust myself.


"It was good -- it was my first goal at St James' Park. It feels good for the confidence. For an offensive player like myself, it's just great."

In a tight encounter, it was Obertan's 48th-minute strike which proved decisive, although if his finish was assured, it was the combination between the Ameobi bothers, Shola and Sammy, which handed him his big chance. Shola picked out Sammy with a neat flick which the 20-year-old skillfully lifted over his marker before heading upfield at pace to pick out the Frenchman.

Obertan still had plenty to do, but his right-foot drive was too powerful for keeper Bojan Jorgacevic, who was powerless to prevent it from sailing inside his far post.

He said: "It was a really good move. Sammy managed to keep the ball and do some tricks. I was at the right position at the right time. I had some time on the ball, which is sometimes hard, but I had the coolness to finish."