Shane Ferguson’s play anywhere attitude for Newcastle United is not artificial

Shane Ferguson
Shane Ferguson

Shane Ferguson didn’t hestitate when he was asked to play centre-half for Newcastle United – as he’s desperate to show his commitment to the cause.

Ferguson, one of the shortest players in Steve McClaren’s squad, lined up at the back in the club’s last friendly against Portland Timbers.

I’ll do anything for the team and work as hard as I can

Shane Ferguson

McClaren left out defensive quartet Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson and Jamaal Lascelles over concerns about the Major League Soccer club’s artificial pitch.

That left Ferguson – who normally plays at left-back or on the wing – to line up alongside 19-year-old Lubomir Satka at the back.

Portland went on to win 4-3 at Providence Park in what was United’s final USA tour game.

Newcastle continue their pre-season programme with a friendly against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane tomorrow (1pm kick-off).

“There were a lot of boys who couldn’t really play the game because of the artificial pitch, so I was the only one available to play there,” said the Northern Ireland international.

“It was an experience. I’ll take a lot from it. I learnt a lot.

“I’ll do anything for the team work as hard as I can. If I’m needed there, I’ll play the best I can.”

Ferguson, entering the last year of his contract, hasn’t played a competitive game for Newcastle since December 2012.

The 24-year-old has had loan spells at Birmingham City and Rangers over the past two years, and his missed seven months of football with a knee injury.

But the Northern Ireland is refusing to give up on his St James’s Park career, with head coach McClaren having pledged to give every player a chance after taking over this summer.

“I’ve been out on loan, and last year I was injured a lot,” said Ferguson.

“I was injured for seven months with my knee. I’m just getting back into the swing of things.

“It’s a clean slate and a fresh start for everyone. I’ll have to keep working hard pre-season and try to get as fit as I can.”