Ayoze Perez on his Newcastle future and how he’s still pinching himself a year after moving to St James’s Park

Ayoze Perez
Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez says his number’s not up at Newcastle United.

The forward scored seven Premier League goals for the club last season after moving from Tenerife.

I don’t think about the numbers, or to do better than last year – just work and do my best for the team.

Ayoze Perez

Perez had been signed as one for the future by the club – but he quickly played his way into then-manager Alan Pardew’s starting XI.

But the 22-year-old knows he is now a marked man in England – and he’s not setting himself any goalscoring targets.

“It’s harder because I had a good season last year, and I have to keep going and improve and maybe do better if I can,” said Perez. “That’s what I want to do.

“I did good numbers, but I have to keep working every day and in training.

“I don’t think about the numbers or to do better than last year – just work and do my best for the team.

“I always want to improve so that’s a good goal. I always want to be better so if I can score more goals, that’s a good thing for me.”

Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a £15million deadline day move for Perez, but Newcastle made it clear that the Spain Under-21 international was not for sale.

And Perez – whose goals helped keep United up last season – was not looking to leave St James’s Park.

“I feel fit, I feel comfortable with the team and I’m happy with the start of the season,” said Perez, who cost Newcastle just £1.5million.

“I have to keep working. My first year was a really good year and I hope this one will be the same or better.”

Perez – who chose United ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid as he wanted first-team football – admits he is still pinching himself at his rapid rise, having been playing in Spain’s second division the season before last.

He said: “I’m still thinking the same – like it’s a dream. In a big game, sometimes I can’t believe it.”