Aleksandar Mitrovic still dreams of Newcastle United No 9 shirt
Aleksandar Mitrovic still dreams of wearing the famous No 9 on his back at Newcastle United one day.
The frontman stepped aside from his summer battle with Dwight Gayle for the shirt, made famous by legendary Gallowgate goalscorers like Alan Shearer, Jackie Milburn, Hughie Gallagher and Malcolm Macdonald, to allow the new boy the honours.
But Mitro has not given up hope of swapping his lucky No 45 for the iconic shirt in the future.
“Maybe I will change to No 9 for Newcastle one day,” said Mitrovic, who has been away on international duty with Serbia.
“But 45 is my lucky number, so I will keep 45 for now but in the future we will see.”
Mitrovic, a firm crowd favourite with the Geordie faithful, has been linked with a £20million move to Italy in recent weeks.
Reports from the continent suggested that Serie A giants Napoli were willing to stump up to land the 22-year-old in the January transfer window.
But the striker has nailed his colours to the mast by insisting he will be on Tyneside for the rest of the season.
Although he admits he is flattered by the Gli Azzurri rumours.
He said: “It is always nice when big clubs are interested in you, but I am at Newcastle and I want to return to the Premier League. “My message to the fans is don’t worry because I will be there for the rest of the season.
“I am focusing on Newcastle and I want to score goals for them.”
As well as hitting the goals trail, which the striker has done in recent weeks both for club and country, Mitrovic has his eyes firmly on securing promotion this season.
He has no intention of allowing the Napoli talk distract him.
“We are top of the Championship and the ambition of everybody is to return to the Premier League,” said Mitrovic.
“We have to keep working hard to try and stay at the top but, with the players we have, that is where we should be.
“We have some big games to come, we have Leeds and Blackburn and then Hull in the EFL Cup quarter-final so it is an exciting time.”
You can hardly call Mitrovic’s record in front of goal deadly since his switch from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015.
He hit a goal every four games in his debut season in the Premier League, but has been prolific when called upon this campaign, netting five times in just 10 games this campaign.
He has also bagged three in his last two for his country, including a point-winning header against Wales at the weekend.
Reflecting back on his Principality Stadium strike, he said: “I hope the header was like (Alan) Shearer. It was a good cross, I was against Ashley Williams and James Chester and it was hard because they are strong guys.
“That is why I am a striker. It’s my job. I have good players around me and I have to use them.
“I knew I would only have one or two chances. It came and I’m happy.”