Cheick Tiote says he’s focused on helping Newcastle United up the Premier League table – and not eyeing the exit door.
Tiote made his first league start in more than 10 months at the weekend.
I had my injury, and now I’m back. I will continue playing. Everyone wants to play, and that’s the only thing I want to do.
And the long-serving midfielder – who is close to full fitness after recovering from a long-standing knee problem – is hoping to line up against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Tiote has long been linked with a move away from St James’s Park.
But the 29-year-old – who has two years left on his contract – isn’t looking beyond making Steve McClaren’s teamsheet for the Wear-Tyne derby.
“I just want to play,” said Tiote, who played 45 minutes of Sunday’s 6-2 win over Norwich City.
“I had my injury, and now I’m back. I will continue playing. Everyone wants to play, and that’s the only thing I want to do. I want to do my job on the pitch.”
Last year, then-United manager Alan Pardew claimed Tiote had become “unsettled” amid interest from an unnamed club. But the Ivory Coast international – who has struggled for fitness and form for the past two years – has brushed off questions about his commitment.
Asked if he still had a lot to offer the club, Tiote said: “Yes, like everyone.
“Everyone has to have a lot to do for the club. We have to perform on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Tiote – who worked with McClaren at FC Twente early in his career – is a derby veteran.
And he is confident that the club’s new signings, including Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic, know what the fixture is all about.
“I think the new players know already,” he said. “We have been talking about the derby, so I think everyone knows.”