RETURNING Danny Guthrie has set himself a double goal between now and the end of the season – sign a new contract with Newcastle and earn a shock England call-up in time for Euro 2012.
Guthrie has declared himself fit and raring to return from a groin injury for this weekend’s visit of QPR, the first Premier League fixture since Cheick Tiote reported for African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast.
The former Liverpool man is the natural successor to Tiote for the duration of that tournament, but he has bigger ambitions than that in his sights.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the season Guthrie wants to earn a new deal – and put himself in contention for senior honours with his country.
“Every English player would love to play for their country,” he said.
“To be honest, if I could get a run of games from now until the end of the season where I was playing as I was before I got injured I’d have to say I could get an England call-up if I was playing like that.
“I’m not trying to be big headed but seeing the players who have been called up for preliminary squads recently, I feel I might have a chance.
“I do think about stuff like that but I need to stay fit and I need to get to those levels I was at before to do it.”
An extended injury hiatus was not what Guthrie wanted and he admits six weeks on the sidelines came at a bad time, just as he was producing his best form for United since the promotion season.
“It was probably the best five or six weeks that I’ve had here. I was finding some good form but the timing of the injury was bad. I was just starting to find my feet in the team, but these things happen and I just want to get back into things.
“I should be fine for QPR, I returned to full training on Tuesday and will get a good few days in. I had a really good two weeks with the medical staff, who have been brilliant.
“I have done a mini pre-season really so on that front I’m fine.”
Guthrie’s form has seen him linked with Aston Villa and Blackburn among others, but the midfielder insists his aim is to earn another deal at Newcastle.
The Journal understands initial discussions have taken place – and Guthrie’s desire to remain on Tyneside will hopefully bring a positive resolution before the close season.
He believes there are “big things” in the pipeline for “settled” United.
“Me and my fiancee are very settled here. It’s home, we’ve got the baby here now,” he said.
“I’d be keen to stay here, of course. It’s a massive club and the way this season has gone I can only see good times ahead. I’d love to be part of it.”
As Guthrie looks forward to a return, Sammy Ameobi (pictured above) faces “several months” out with what is understood to be a knee injury.
It is a crushing blow for the youngster, who harbours ambitions of breaking into the Great Britain Olympic team in time for the London 2012 games – and a sizeable setback for Alan Pardew, who saw him as a potent weapon off the bench.
A club spokesman said: “Sammy Ameobi will be sidelined for a period of time, likely to be a number of months, as a result of an injury sustained in the Reserves’ win over Wigan.”
Newcastle denied speculation in yesterday morning’s papers that they had made contact with Liverpool over the possibility of a sensational return for Andy Carroll.
But The Journal understands the club will continue to monitor the England striker’s availability. No move appears imminent though, with his agent Mark Curtis insisting the player is happy at Anfield – where he is set to enjoy a run of games while Luis Suarez is suspended.