Amalfitano plots own path
Newcastle new boy Romain Amalfitano is determined to be his own man as he attempts to make his way in English football.
The 22-year-old former Reims midfielder, like a generation of French players, grew up idolising superstar Zinedine Zidane, but insists he will play his own way. Asked about his role models as a youngster, he told NUFC TV: "Being French, I would have to say Zinedine Zidane, but I didn't really have anybody particular in mind who I was looking up to.
"I try to look at all midfield players and see what each of them is doing, but I want to be and stay myself. My first goal is to impose myself. Obviously, I know that is not going to be easy and football goes very quickly, but it is not impossible.
"This is what I am here for. I try not to think about things too much, take it day by day and not ask myself too many questions so I can perform better."
Amalfitano, like teenager Gael Bigirimana, faces the task of forcing his way into a midfield which shone in last season's fifth-place Barclays Premier League finish. He knows that will be a significant challenge, but is relishing the chance to show the manager and the Tyneside public exactly what he can do.
He said: "I am obviously very excited to know that there are 52,000 fans in the stadium. I think there is a whole city behind this club supporting the club. Obviously, I am very excited and I can also feel the pressure. I will have to deal with that and I will adapt.
"I just want to prove to them that I have the desire and energy to succeed. I really want to do well here, not only on a personal level, but also for the club. I want to show them that the club trusted in me. I am here now and I want to do everything I can."
Amalfitano's first task on the pitch is to adapt to a new football culture and off it, to learn English. However, while both will take some time, he is confident the football side of things will come naturally to him. He said: "Yes, that's for certain, I will have to adapt. But it's still football, it is universal.
"I have always done everything to be successful, so there is no reason why I would not be able to here, and if I need to, I will adapt. The only issue is the language barrier, but there are many French players, so that is very helpful.
"Demba [Ba], Gabby Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and also Mehdi [Abeid], who I have just met, players who speak my language, have helped me."