Fabian Schar’s confident he can quickly adapt to Premier League football – and help Newcastle United cope without Florian Lejeune.
The club has lost defender Florian Lejeune to a long-term injury, and Schar, signed from Deportivo La Coruna, is pushing to be ready for the new campaign after making his debut in Saturday’s goalless draw against Porto.
The 26-year-old – who went to the World Cup with Switzerland – believes he has the attributes needed to succeed in the Premier League.
“I’ve had some experience,” said Schar.
“I’ve played two World Cups and Champions League. I’ve played a lot of games against English teams in the Champions League. I had a good feeling in the games.
“I will need some time to adapt, but I will show my qualities and what I have. I’m really looking forward to the games.”
Asked about the physicality and intensity of the Premier League, Schar said: “That’s the main difference between England and Spain.
“Everything is really close together (on the pitch). Everybody can beat everybody, and that’s what I’m looking for.
“I think here you have to be more than 100% to be competitive.”
Schar is keen to test himself against the Premier League’s “great players”.
I’m really sad for him, and I really hope he’s coming back soon. He’s an important player for the club. He’s a great player. I’m really hoping he has a good recovery and comes back soon.Fabian Schar
“I think that’s the best part for each player – to play against the great players,” said Schar.
“I’m really glad to be here in the Premier League.”
United manager Rafa Benitez revealed after the Porto game that Lejuene needed surgery after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.
Benitez has not put a timeframe on Lejeune’s return, but he’s likely to miss much of the season.
“This news is the worst news you get as a player,” said Schar. “I’m really sad for him, and I really hope he’s coming back soon. He’s an important player for the club. He’s a great player. I’m really hoping he has a good recovery and comes back soon.”
Benitez signed Schar after selling Chancel Mbemba to Porto.
“When he called me the first time, it was a good feeling to talk with him,” said Schar. “He was talking about what he was expecting and how he sees me, and it was a good feeling. That’s one reason why I came here.”
Schar played for Switzerland at St James’s Park in the 2012 Olympics.
“I know that Newcastle is a big club,” he said. “I know the stadium, because I played 2012 here. I was impressed with the stadium, even though it wasn’t a home game.
“It must be crazy and fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to the home games. You had players like Alan Shearer here.
“We have some big players and it’s a massive club. I’m really happy to wear this shirt.”
Schar came off the bench in the second half at the Estadio do Dragao as Porto pushed for a goal.
“It was funny, because last year when I joined Coruna we had exactly the same game against Porto,” said Schar.
“It’s a good start to play a friendly like this. I think Porto are a really good team.
“For me, it’s now to learn everything about my team-mates and how we play.”