JAMES Tavernier has been largely out of sight for the past year, but he hasn’t been out of mind at Newcastle United.
Tavernier, at MK Dons until the rest of the season, has impressed manager Alan Pardew with his form on loan.
And the 20-year-old, a pacy and athletic right-back, is hoping he’s done enough to win a new deal at St James’s Park.
Tavernier’s out of contract in the summer, and he’s focused on extending his association with Newcastle, the club he joined four years ago from Leeds United, the team the Bradford-born player grew up supporting.
“My main aim’s still to play in the first team, and that’s what I want to be doing as soon as possible,” Tavernier told the Gazette.
“The more I impress the manager, the more chance I’ve got of getting into that team.”
Asked if he wanted to commit his long-term future to United, Tavernier added: “Definitely – that’s where I see myself.
“When I was younger, that’s why I came to the club. Hopefully, I can fulfil that soon.
“That’s the aim – I want to be here in the long term. Obviously, I want to play in the first team at Newcastle.”
While Tavernier – and fellow Newcastle loanee Alan Smith – are battling to win promotion to the Championship with MK Dons, his United team-mates are fighting to return to European football after a five-year absence.
And he’s willing his team-mates on in their Premier League campaign.
Tavernier said: “It would great to see them get in Europe and be involved in that. I’d love to think I could be involved in that next season.”
In the meantime, Tavernier’s focused on winning promotion with his fourth loan club, having previously had spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Carlisle United and Gateshead.
“Playing every week is what I’ve wanted to do, and going out on loan’s given me the chance to do that,” said Tavernier.
“It’s the key for me – getting more games and more experience.
“This is my fourth time on loan, and they’ve all been different experiences.
“Hopefully, all of those experiences will come together and it comes out in my game.
“Then the manager can see it comes out, the performances get better, and I become a better player.
“The loans have been great for me at MK Dons.
“Everything’s going great for me at the moment, and hopefully I can push on.” Former England international Smith, pictured, is also on loan at MK Dons, the pair bringing a blend of youth and experience to Robinson’s side.
The pair missed Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over Leyton Orient through injury, but could be back for Saturday’s fixture at Wycombe Wanderers.
“I settled in really well and straight away,” he added.
“I’ve got a place down there, so I’m settled, which is good. MK Dons have made me feel really welcome, and obviously with Alan Smith being there too is great because he’s a person that I already knew.
“He has got bags of experience – you couldn’t get a better person to look up to.
“He gives great advice, and I can talk to him any time I want. It’s good to have him down there with me.”