WAYNE Routledge has set himself a couple of lofty goals after signing for Newcastle United – to return the club to the Champions League and spend the rest of his career at St James’ Park.
The former QPR winger made an enterprising debut against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, adding the pace and the attacking threat that has often been missing from the right of midfield for Newcastle this season.
It was a promising start to life in black and white for a player who recognises the need for stability in his career after accumulating eight clubs in his first nine years as a professional. That desire to settle down extends to making Newcastle United the final club of his career.
“Why have I had so many clubs in my career? I honestly couldn't tell you. There are different reasons why you don't settle at a particular club or it doesn't work out with a certain manager,” he said.
“But I am here now and I want to establish myself as a Newcastle player. In an ideal world I would be at Newcastle for the rest of my career.
“I want to see us back in the Premier League and back in the Champions League. That is my goal, we'll just have to see how we go.”
He believes St James’ Park is the perfect platform for a career renaissance and has been enthused by the atmosphere in the dressing room, which he believes is one of the best he has ever encountered.
“I can already see that these are a very confident bunch of lads who are all working as a unit. You can sense the atmosphere in a dressing room from the minute you walk in,” he said.
“I've been at a few clubs and you can tell if there is a problem in the team from the banter in the dressing room. It's obvious that these are a bunch of lads who are enjoying their football and are all focused on winning games and getting promotion. It's all looking positive.
“People tell me Newcastle have had a bit of turmoil off the pitch but QPR was a bit mad at times, managers changing and such like so it was difficult to focus on football. Hopefully that is all behind me and it's all about getting Newcastle back in the big time.
“This is easily one of the top ten maybe top five clubs in the country. It's just in the wrong division at the moment and that is what we're trying to change on the pitch.
“The prospect of playing in the Premier League was a massive factor. I’m confident of my own ability and believe that I can do well in the Premier League.”
Settling down quickly in the north will be the key for Routledge, who has spent the lion’s share of his career in the capital with Palace, QPR and Tottenham.
But he has signalled a willingness to embrace the North East footballing culture and “new experiences”.
“I've played most of my football in the south so it does feel a bit weird being this far north but you have to grow up sometime,” he said.
“I want to get myself settled in the area a quickly as possible. I'm going house-hunting this week and hopefully find myself a nice place.
“I knew Ryan and Steven Taylor from the England set-up but apart from that it's all new people and new experiences and that's good. I needed a new start. QPR are a great club but it was time to go.”
Routledge knows that he will need to be more prolific if he is to regain the momentum he had earlier in his career.
“I want to add goals and more of an attacking threat,” he said. “My game is all about making opportunities for other people. I set one up for Nile on Wednesday and he put it away with a great finish. Long may that continue and we stay at the top of the league.”