DAVIDE Santon believes Newcastle United have their very own ‘Special One’ in boss Alan Pardew.
And the Italian is determined to repay his manager’s faith in him after making his Premier League breakthrough at Newcastle United.
Santon was handed his professional debut by Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, and went on to win the Serie A title is successive seasons under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’.
However, injuries and a loss of form saw him fall out of favour with his former mentor before he took over the reins at Real Madrid, and after a difficult 18 months is now trying to rebuild his career under Pardew’s stewardship at Newcastle.
And while he says Mourinho and Pardew are very different characters, he believes the two managers share many qualities, not least their “will to win”.
“Alan Pardew and Jose Mourinho are totally different, but in their own ways they are very good managers,” Santon told the Gazette.
“Like Mourinho, the manager at Newcastle has always got that will to win every game and take the club forward.
“I like working with the manager. He has placed trust in me, and I hope I can return that trust by playing well in the next few games.”
The full-back is set for his third start in a row against West Bromwich Albion at St James’s Park tomorrow night.
Santon kept his place after Ryan Taylor suffered a knock on the eve of Saturday’s goalless draw against Swansea City, and impressed with an attack-minded performance.
Taylor will have a late fitness test, but the likelihood is that Santon, signed from Inter in the summer, will again line up at left-back.
The Italian international’s confident he’s steadily adjusting to the demands of the Premier League’s pace and power, which contrasts sharply with that in his native Italy.
“I now realise that the game in England is more physical compared to Serie A, and I have adapted to that,” he added.
“I feel it’s going well for me. I’m really happy at the moment – the fans are fantastic to me personally. I have a great relationship with my team-mates, and I’m enjoying it here.
“I’m happy because at the end of the day the defence didn’t let any goals in (against Swansea), but I realise that against West Bromwich Albion, it must be a better game for us.
“It was difficult for us afterwards. We know we tried and tried to get the one goal, but we didn’t get anywhere. Because of that, morale does go down during a game.
“But it means that we must try even harder against West Brom, and try even more ways to create some goals.”
Pardew, meanwhile, hailed Santon’s performance against Swansea, and believes there is more to come from the player.
“Santon, in terms of our home fans seeing him for the first time, saw he’s a front-footed player,” said Pardew. “He wants to attack.
“He linked well with Jonas – they had some nice combinations on that side – and that really bodes well going forward.
“He can go both ways. He can come inside, where he’s slightly strong, but he’ll go on the outside as well and deliver good quality with his left foot.
“I don’t think he’s a one-trick pony. He’s got a lot of assets, and I’m hoping he has a big future at the club.”