Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Best eager to shine for Trapattoni

Newcastle striker Leon Best is desperate to make his mark for club and country after finally emerging from his injury nightmare.

The 24-year-old has spent much of the 18 months since he arrived at St James' Park from Coventry fighting his way back to fitness, and his repeated absences have hampered his efforts to establish himself on both the Barclays Premier League and international fronts.

He said: "I have not played that many Premier League games, but it's good for me because the games I have played I have scored in. It's a good ratio for me and I intend keeping that goals-to-games ratio the same. I have had no injuries, touch wood, and got some goals as well, so I am very confident."

There is competition at international level with West Brom duo Shane Long and Simon Cox having emerged as genuine back-up to Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle in recent months with Best's absence having seen him slip down the pecking order.

But he remains ambitious to add to his seven caps and is convinced Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will come calling once again, perhaps as early as next month's crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers against Andorra and Armenia, if he continues to produce for his club.

He said: "If I keep scoring, even if the manager has forgotten about me, he's going to see me in the paper when he sees it and hopefully he will remember who I am.

"I don't know why I haven't been called up. It's the same thing with Ireland - I have never really been given a good run, a good chance to prove that I am an international, as well as a Premier League, player.

"But it will all come. If I do well for Newcastle and continue to score and play well and prove that I am a Premier League striker, then I should be given the chance to be an international."

Trapattoni initially turned to Best at a time when he was finding life tough at Coventry, but his fortunes have changed markedly since.

He said: "It's a funny game because when I was in my lows at Coventry and not knowing what was happening, I got an international call-up from him from nowhere, and that gave me the confidence to strive on."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph