Meet the young Newcastle defender who's caught the eye of Rafa Benitez
Jamie Sterry's looking to make up for lost time at Newcastle United '“ or out on loan '“ after returning to fitness.
Sterry is fully fit after recovering from the groin injury he suffered late last season.
Sterry – who trains with Rafa Benitez’s senior squad – made has made one first-team appearance so far this season.
And the 21-year-old is prepared to go out on loan in January to get more game time.
“I wasn’t fit enough to get out on loan (before the summer transfer window closed), and I need to wait and see what happens in January,” said Sterry, when spent the first half of last season on loan at Coventry City.
“I’d like to get more game time, but if the opportunity’s here at Newcastle, I’d like to take. Game time anywhere will help me in the long run.
“I ask to play in every (Under-23) game I can. I always give 100% and try and learn and play as much as possible.”
Sterry signed a new long-term contract at the start of last season after impressing Benitez. The defender made three appearances for Newcastle in 2016-17 and played week in, week out during his four-month spell at Coventry.
However, Sterry’s season was brought to an abrupt end by injury.
“I ruptured the tendon in my groin,” said the right-back. “So that put me out for three-and-a-half months, which obviously wasn’t great.
“All summer I was working hard and trying to get fit. I’d have hoped to have played more games by now, but I’m feeling good now. I feel fit.
“I played 60 minutes for the first team in the cup game (against Nottingham Forest in August). That was tough. That was quite soon for coming back from injury.
“I’ve been working hard, and I feel fitter and fitter now.”
Sterry, unable to play a full part in pre-season, had to quickly play catch-up with his fitness after returning to full training.
“I was working one-on-one with the fitness coach all the time,” said Sterry.
“That was tough. It was good to be in and around the team doing the gym sessions, but frustrating not being able to train. I’m training with them all the time now. Obviously, I asked to play for the Under-23s, as I need as much fitness as possible.
“It’s just a case of hopefully getting an opportunity.”
Sterry netted in last week’s 6-2 Premier League 2 defeat to an experienced Southampton side after running half the length of the field at the St Mary’s Stadium.
“With the goal, it was just hard work, really,” he said. “I sprinted about 60 yards and pressed the keeper. Hopefully, more can come.”
Now he’s fit, Sterry is pushing to be included in Benitez’s matchday squads.
On the seventh-placed club’s start to the Premier League season, he said: “It’s fantastic. With me being a Geordie, it’s so good to see.
“I’m just itching to try and get back into squads. It’s great training with them. I’m learning a lot.”