Mohamed Diame offers African Cup of Nations reassurance for Newcastle

Mohamed Diame
Mohamed Diame

Mohamed Diame is determined to sign off in style at Newcastle United before heading to the African Cup of Nations.

The in-form midfielder has scored three goals from his last four starts.

We have a big squad – a quality squad – so I’m very confident with the team the manager can play when I have to leave

Mohamed Diame

Diame netted his fifth goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burton Albion.

The win at the Pirelli Stadium saw the club claim the No 1 spot in the Championship for Christmas.

Diame, signed from Hull City in the summer for £4.5million, said late last month that he needed to “wake up” – as he felt he had been “sleeping” in the early part of the campaign.

The 29-year-old has since hit form for Newcastle, who lead second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion by a point.

Diame will head to Gabon early next month ahead of Senegal’s African Cup of Nations campaign.

Before he heads to Africa, Diame is looking to do everything he can to ensure United – who take on Sheffield Wednesday at St James’s Park – remains top of the division.

“I want to contribute before I go away,” said Diame, who also scored against former club Wigan Athletic last week.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez also expects to lose Christian Atsu (Ghana), Achraf Lazaar (Morocco) and Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo) to the tournament, while and Cheick Tiote could also be called up by Ivory Coast.

However, Diame feels United have the strength in depth to cope with their likely absences.

“We have a big squad – a quality squad – so I’m very confident with the team the manager can play when I have to leave,” said Diame.

“Anyone can play. We know what we have to do. Every single player has to come in and give something to the team.

“It’s important we all do, but I want to contribute now.”

Senegal are grouped with Algeria, Tunisia and Zimbabwe in the Cup of Nations, which runs from January 14 to February 5.

Speaking about the Cup of Nations earlier this month, Benitez said: “We have to keep it in our heads that we will lose maybe four players for the African Cup of Nations.”