Tuesday 21 November 2017

Campbell aiming to repay the faith

Sol Campbell is relishing the challenge of trying to help lift Newcastle back up to their former heights after joining the Magpies on a one-year contract.

It became clear yesterday that Toon boss Chris Hughton had won the race to sign the former England defender, whose short-term deal with Arsenal ran out at the end of last season.

Hughton had been eager to strengthen his defence ahead of Newcastle's return to the Barclays Premier League following injuries to Steven Taylor, Danny Simpson and new signing James Perch.

Taylor is certain to miss the start of the campaign with a shoulder injury but there are fears he could be sidelined for several months.

For Campbell, it is a far cry from last summer, when he made the surprise move from Portsmouth to then League Two side Notts County before deciding after one game that it was not for him.

A return to Arsenal, the club he had played for between 2001 and 2006, gave him the chance to prove he could still hack it in the top flight, and he had no shortage of suitors when he left the Gunners for the second time.

Sunderland and Celtic were also interested but it was the chance to be part of Newcastle's return to the top flight that proved the greatest lure.

Campbell told www.nufc.co.uk: "At this stage of my career I couldn't have wished for a better move. To join a club such as Newcastle United, with its proud tradition, heritage and magnificent support, is absolutely tremendous for me.

"I'd like to thank Chris Hughton for putting his faith in me and aim to repay him and the supporters by giving everything I possibly can to help re-establish this great club in the top tier of English football.

"I just want to play and can't wait to get started. There's a real buzz about the place and that's great. I've played at St James' Park numerous times and always found it a fantastic place to play. There's always a tremendous atmosphere."

Campbell is also looking forward to working again with Hughton, who was a coach at Tottenham when the centre-back came through the ranks, and his assistant Colin Calderwood.

"Chris will focus everyone together and get the team ready for the season," added Campbell. "It's nice seeing Colin Calderwood, too, having played with him at Tottenham."

The 35-year-old, who won the last of his 73 England caps in 2007, could make his Newcastle debut in their Premier League opener against Manchester United on August 16.

And Hughton, who had hoped to sign Campbell when he left County last season, is confident he has secured a quality addition to his squad.

"I have known Sol since he was a lad at Tottenham and am fully aware of what he has to offer," said the Magpies manager. "That is experience, quality, calm assurance and leadership.

"He's a dedicated professional, a terrific addition to the squad, and I look forward to working with him again."

Press Association

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