Aleksandar Mitrovic reveals the reason he became a Newcastle fan – aged eight!

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic
  • Mitrovic has followed Newcastle for the past 12 years
  • The striker was impressed by the passion of the fans
  • Mitrovic feels he can handle rigours of Premier League
  • The Serbia international feels he is ready to start

Aleksandar Mitrovic was only eight at the time.

But the game he was watching on TV left an indelible impression on him.

It was 2003, and Partizan Belgrade, the club the striker would go on to represent, had knocked Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United out of the Champions League in a penalty shootout at St James’s Park.

Mitrovic went on to follow the club from Serbia.

Now he’s a Newcastle player, having joined them in a £13million move from Anderlecht.

Mitrovic and his team-mates trained at St James’s Park yesterday in front of more than 13,000 fans ahead of Sunday’s season-opener against Southampton.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic

“I’ve always loved Newcastle, because even when you are watching their games on TV, you can feel the passion of the crowd,” said the 20-year-old.

“After the game against Partizan, we all said ‘it is really amazing’.

“Even (at the open day), with 13,000 people here, you could see that. It will be a pleasure to play here.

“It is amazing. I can’t wait for Sunday’s game, with over 50,000 fans. I can’t wait.”

I’ve always loved Newcastle, because even when you are watching their games on TV, you can feel the passion of the crowd.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Mitrovic – who will wear the No 45 jersey – featured in Newcastle’s final two pre-season friendlies.

Speaking after the Serbia international’s debut at York City, head coach Steve McClaren said Mitrovic had a bit of the “devil” about him when he takes to the field.

Asked about McClaren’s comment, he joked: “We will see about that!

“But it is normal if you want to score goals and be the best – you need to have this (devil) inside you. You need to want to score in every game and to fight hard.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic

“I’m a typical No 9. I’m always in the box, strong, good in the air.

“Of course, I like getting stuck in. I play a physical game. This is my style and you can expect to see this style from me on Sunday.”

Mitrovic, however, isn’t setting himself any goals targets for his first campaign in Newcastle.

“I was asked how many goals I would score when I signed for Anderlecht, and I said 50,” said Mitrovic.

“I don’t want to say a number this time – I just want to score as many as I can.”

Battle-scarred Mitrovic is ready for a bruising introduction to the Premier League.

“I have no direct message to them (Premier League defenders,” he said.

“But they are going to kick me. They are going to kick me from the first minute, and ,of course, I will kick them back!

“This is normal for me. They will know all about me.

“I have picked up a few scars during games. It proves I am prepared to go in where it hurts.

“If it means I will score a goal, I will put my head anywhere.”

Mitrovic, for now competiting with Papiss Demba Cisse for a place in McClaren’s starting XI, knows there will be a period of adjustment given the pace and power of the Premier League.

“England is faster and stronger than in Belgium,” he said.

“I could see that already in the two friendlies I have played.

“It is faster and more of a running game. I think this style will suit me, but it will maybe be a bit more running than I am used to. Every day I am getting in better shape.

Asked if he was ready to start against Southampton, he said: “You will need to ask the coach about that but of course I want to play.

“If he thinks I am not ready, then I will accept it, but I think I am ready.”