MOUSSA Sissoko’s looking to again be Newcastle United’s No10 this season – with the midfielder adamant its his best position.
Sissoko was played behind striker Papiss Demba Cisse after arriving from Toulouse.
But the France international’s deployment in the No10 role proved a talking point among fans, with many feeling he is more of a box-to-box midfielder.
Sissoko was used as a holding midfielder alongside Vurnon Anita in Newcastle’s opening pre-season friendly – Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over Motherwell – but he believes his at his best further up the pitch.
“For me, my position is No10,” said Sissoko. “But if the manager says I must play in midfield, no problem for me.
“I play for the team, and nobody else. That’s the important thing.”
Sissoko made an instant impact after his move, helping United win at Aston Villa, where he set up Cisse’s opening goal with a superb pass, before scoring twice in a dramatic home victory over Chelsea four days later.
However, the club’s upturn in fortunes was shortlived.
And Newcastle only secured their Premier League status on the penultimate weekend of the season with a win over Queens Park Rangers.
Sissoko missed the last few weeks of the campaign with an ankle problem, but the 23-year-old is fully fit, and he put in a powerful performance at Fir Park.
“Last season towards the end I didn’t play, but this is a new season,” said Sissoko, who could again start in tomorrow’s friendly against Portuguese side Rio Ave.
“Now I’m so happy because I can play again. It’s pre-season, and I’m working hard.
“Last season was very difficult for the team. This season is a new page.
“We want to play well, and for me it’s a big, big season with Newcastle. That’s why it’s important we win in pre-season.
“No matter who we play in the next match, we’re thinking about winning the games all the time.”
Reflecting on the Motherwell game, in which he found the net along with Haris Vuckic, Yoan Gouffran and Sylvain Marveaux, Sissoko added: “I’m happy because it was our first game.
“For the team and for me personally, it was very important we won and won well.
“It’s important for confidence – we are going to need it going forward for the season ahead. So we’re all happy.”
United manager Alan Pardew is keen for more English to be spoken by the club’s large French contingent over the coming campaign.
And Sissoko is making progress off the pitch with his language skills.
He said: “It’s very important to me.
“Sometimes I can speak English, and each month it gets better. The English language can be very quick.
“Sometimes when people speak Geordie it’s hard for me, but I’m getting better. I like to speak English.”