Massadio Haidara admits he can be ready at a moment’s notice, should Rafa Benitez require his services in the Newcastle United first-team.
Signed in January 2013, the Frenchman was rated as one of the most promising prospects across the Channel when United, then manager by Alan Pardew, snapped him up for a fee believed to be less than £2million.
One day you will have your chance but you never know when. It is hard
But, for a number of different reasons, things have not panned out the way he, or the Magpies, would have hoped.
Injury has been the main contributor, with five different knee problems seeing him miss more than a year and a half of action.
This has been no different under Benitez.
While the Spaniard has had ‘go-to man’ Paul Dummett on left-back duties, he has Achraf Lazaar and Jesus Gamez who are able to play in the position, as well as having called upon Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita to fill in during times of crisis while Haidara was out injured.
But former Nancy and France youth international defender Haidara returned to action at the start of the calendar year.
And having managed to get a number of Newcastle Under-23 performances, and two FA Cup outings, under his belt, he is ready to get back to the big time.
Although he accepts hard work, and hard work alone, will get him there.
Haidara said: “As a player you have to keep your condition – you have to be ready for the day you are needed to play for the first-team.
“You have to keep your head down and you have to make sure you work hard.
“It is not always easy but you have to try and enjoy it.
“This is the most difficult thing.
“One day you know you will have your chance but you will never know when.
“As a player you have to keep pushing yourself every day in training to make sure that when you are needed you are fit and ready to do your best.”
While the full-back is a resilient character, keen not to let his head drop, Haidara, as any player in his position would be, cuts a frustrated figure.
He explains: “Mentally it can be hard. I am frustrated.
“Every player would be the same.
“I am a little bit disappointed with this season because every player wants to play in the first-team.
“When you are not frustrated at not playing there must be something wrong.
“But you have to make sure you use your frustration in a good way.
“It needs to make you want to show more.”
Haidara was again involved as United reserves made it through to the PL Cup last eight with an extra-time win over West Ham United at St James’s Park.
It’s far from ideal, he admits that, but he believes that any gametime is positive for him at the moment.
He said: “It is good to play with the Under-23s. When you are not getting minutes with the first-team it is important to play.
“It is always good to get minutes on the pitch.
“It is a little bit different but that is not a bad thing.
“It is always good to play – that is what any player wants to do.
“It does not matter which team you play for, you always have to make sure that you give your best.”