YOHAN Cabaye has put all thoughts of international glory with France to the back of his mind as Newcastle United’s campaign reaches its climax.
Cabaye is as important to Les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc as he is to domestic manager Alan Pardew.
The cultured midfielder has been a revelation in his first season at St James’s Park.
And the 26-year-old is hopeful of helping the club into the Champions League before joining his international team-mates ahead of the European Championships, where France will meet England in the group stage.
Next up for Newcastle, level with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with two games left to play, are Premier League leaders Manchester City, who visit St James’s Park on Sunday.
“For me, I’m enjoying playing for my club,” Cabaye told the Gazette. “Every match is very important. I’m concentrating on Newcastle, and after that there is the European Championships.”
United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
Papiss Demba Cisse dominated the headlines for his two stunning goals, but there were outstanding performances all over the park.
Cabaye was again superb alongside midfield partner Cheik Tiote, and his form for Newcastle has been watched closely by Blanc, who, up to now, has overlooked his club colleague Hatem Ben Arfa, who also caught the eye.
“We’re still in the same position, and now, we have a very, very big game against Manchester City on Sunday.
“At Wigan (a 4-0 defeat), we didn’t play a good match, but we worked very hard (against Chelsea), and we won thanks to Papiss.
“We have a chance to qualify for the Champions League, and this is a very important match. We looking forward to this game.
“We have our objectives, and we needed to win at Chelsea.
“Every day the players work hard, and the competition is important.”
Ben Arfa, meanwhile, couldn’t have done much more for United over the past couple of months, having made a timely return to centre stage after spening the first half of the season on the fringes at St James’s Park.
There is much interest in Ben Arfa in France, where he was feted from a young age as the country’s next footballing superstar.
“Hatem is in form, which is good for us, and he played another good match,” added Cabaye, a double winner in France with Lille last season.
“Hopefully, he can take this form into Sunday’s game.”