Rolando Aarons is looking to step up his challenge for a starting place at Newcastle United – after drawing a line under his injury problems.
Aarons missed most of last season with a series of hamstring and hip injuries.
This is a new season and I want a fresh start. Hopefully this year I stay fit and show what I can do.
But the 19-year-old – who scored two stunning goals on his last pre-season outing in the USA – is now fully fit.
And Aarons is looking to impress against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane tomorrow (1pm kick-off).
The England Under-20 international made a stunning first-team breakthrough early last season before succumbing to injury.
Now the winger’s looking to make up for lost time under new head coach Steve McClaren.
“I don’t want to talk about last year,” said Aarons.
“This is a new season and I want a fresh start. Hopefully this year I stay fit and show what I can do.
“As long as the gaffer is happy and I’m happy, and I’m doing well for the team, that’s all that can be done really.
“As long as I keep him happy, I always have a chance.”
Newcastle are looking to sign at least two more forward players before the transfer window closes, and Aarons feels competition will bring the best out of him.
“Competition for places is good,” said Aarons.
“The offensive players are doing well and it brings out the best in you.
“I like competition. It will improve the squad.”
Aarons played 90 minutes against Portland Timbers in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and getting a full game under his belt was a significant milestone.
“I have been out for some time, but I feel happy to play 90 minutes for the first time in a year and a half,” he said.
Aarons – who turned down a new contract at United last season – scored at Providence Park with a stunning overhead kick.
However, Aarons didn’t notice the ovation in his haste to get the ball back to the centre circle.
He said: “I didn’t really notice it because I was trying to get the ball up the pitch, but it was nice of them.”
On Newcastle’s three-game tour of the USA, he added: “Newcastle is a massive club, and I knew that before I came here. But I didn’t know we had this many fans in America.”