JAMES Tavernier’s made a name for himself away from St James’s Park over the past 18 months.
And the 20-year-old feels it’s time he comes of age at Newcastle United.
The defender – who hopes to face Monaco in Landsberg am Lech tonight in the club’s second pre-season friendly – signed a new long-term contract earlier this month.
Having spent much of the past season and a half on loan, Tavernier’s hopeful he can make an impression on Alan Pardew’s side this season.
While the Bradford-born right-back – who had spells at MK Dons, Sheffield Wednesday and Carlisle United last season – wouldn’t rule out another loan, his first thought is to be pulling on a black and white shirt when the season proper starts next month.
“My main aim is to play in a black and white shirt this season, but if I have to go out on loan again, I’d be happy to do that,” Tavernier told the Gazette.
“If the manager thinks that would take me in the right direction, and make me a better player, I’d do that.
“Obviously, my main aim’s to be in the first team at Newcastle.”
The three-year contract handed to Tavernier underlines the faith Pardew has in the Bradford-born player, who joined Newcastle’s Academy four years ago after a spell at Leeds United.
“I was always confident that it would get sorted,” added Tavernier.
“You’ve got to be confident in the way you play, and hopefully when that shows on the pitch, the background stuff takes care of itself.
“I’ll just keep on playing, and hopefully getting better and better as a player.”
Tavernier started Friday night’s game against Chemnitzer, which was decided by a first-half goal from Anton Fink.
The fitness and sharpness of the home side, playing their seventh and final pre-season friendly, told on the night, and Tavernier’s hopeful United will give a better account of themselves against Claudio Ranieri’s Monaco.
“It’s always good to get the first game out of the way,” said Tavernier. “That was the last game of their pre-season, so their fitness levels were obviously much higher than our’s.
“It was a good game, and we just need to improve. Monaco will be a better team, and hopefully we’ll get a better result.”