AFTER the morale boost of putting himself into England’s shop window, Dan Gosling is hoping to finally begin his Newcastle United career in earnest after a “doom-and-gloom” debut season of rows and setbacks.
Since joining on a free transfer from Everton in the summer of 2010, the midfielder has played more of his Premier League football for the Magpies in added time than regulation. He admits the frustration has spilt out at times.
Both Gosling’s league appearances have come as a substitute at the Stadium of Light, after 89 and 86 minutes respectively. His full debut was a 70-minute run-out at Scunthorpe United in the League Cup last month.
Gosling joined Newcastle with the cruciate knee ligament injury which made Everton reluctant to offer him a new contract, and left the Magpies able to sign him for free.
He is yet to conclusively prove his fitness, but Monday’s England Under-21 debut was a step in the right direction.
“It has obviously been a long while for me, but I’ve made it back and fingers crossed, I can keep injury-free and get as many games as I can,” he said after the 4-1 friendly win over Israel at Barnsley.
“It was a doom-and-gloom year really, but my friends and family kept me going.
“I had a few fall-outs with the physios, but it is part and parcel and you just have to get your head around it.
“As soon as I did that, it was just a lot of hard work in the gym.
“I need a full run of games like I had in pre-season.
“If I can get a few 90 minutes quickly, then I’ll feel good.” The departure of Joey Barton to Queens Park Rangers has left the 21-year-old one step closer to a starting place at St James’ Park.
One suspects manager Alan Pardew’s regular attempts to talk up the player have been partly to mask Newcastle’s transfer window shortcomings, partly to massage his morale, but Gosling was highly rated when Everton signed him from home town club Plymouth Argyle three years ago.
Gosling should know better than anyone the folly of running before you can walk, but he is excited at the prospect of turning his first Under-21 cap into a full one, as a number of players have since the last World Cup.
“It helps that Mr Capello is considering the Under-21s and he watches us closely,” he said.
“The gaffer (Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce) reports back every time – they are quite close.
“It can only be a good thing, and you see other lads pushing on and you think you want to be there as well.
“Hopefully, you find good form for your club and then who knows?” Meanwhile, Leeds United have angrily denied reports they tried to sign Nile Ranger on loan last week.
The Whites were one of a number of clubs linked with the 20-year-old before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
“It’s simply not true,” said Leeds manager Simon Grayson.
“Nile was one of a number of players who we were aware of his availability during the transfer window, but we brought in Andy Keogh a few weeks before so we were not looking at other strikers. We certainly didn’t speak with Newcastle about his availability, and it’s well known that we were looking in other areas.”
Birmingham City, managed by Ranger’s former boss Chris Hughton, and Blackpool are expected to try to push through a deal for the striker on Thursday, when clubs in the Football League are allowed to negotiate “emergency” loans.
Ranger’s agent Nick Rubery has been told the Magpies will only contemplate loans with a view to a permanent deal for a player who has tested Pardew’s patience beyond breaking point with his off-field indiscipline.