JAMES Perch finally believes he belongs in a black and white shirt, according to Alan Pardew.
The former Nottingham Forest defender endured a miserable start to life at Newcastle but has bounced back in style this term, posting his best performance as a United player in the 2-0 defeat of Liverpool.
Pardew has been delighted with Perch – revealing how happy he is at his new Twitter nickname “Perchinio” – and feels he is an example to others in the Newcastle squad. United’s manager said: “He has been brilliant.
“It is a credit to his professionalism because he has had a few disappointments when he has played, then has been left out – but he has kept his training up to a peak so that when he has been called upon he has done a great job.
“I like his nickname (Perchinio), it has a nice ring to it.
“I am waiting for him to do a step-over now, but as long as he does not do it in our third I will be quite happy.”
Belief has been the key to Perch’s renaissance, with the defender suffering a huge loss of belief following a torrid start to life at St James’ Park. He picked up bookings in each of his first five games and was booed off the pitch after a poor game at Wigan.
Now fans are hoping a slight calf injury does not rule him out of Newcastle’s game at Swansea today.
Pardew added: “Sometimes at a big club like this it is different.
“Where Perch come from and the route he came here, it is not going to install confidence in him, let alone with the fans that he is good enough.
“Sometimes you need that belief in yourself and he has had those games this year where he has actually thought ‘I can wear this black and white shirt, it is not heavy.”