LEON Best returned to full training yesterday following two months on the sidelines with a vow to help Newcastle United seal their European dream.
The striker has been missing in action since injuring his knee in a game against Aston Villa in February and his long-awaited return to fitness could not come quickly enough for the impatient Republic of Ireland international.
He has missed not only nine weeks of football, but also the camaraderie with the other players as he worked hard on his recuperation with the club’s medical team.
Best said: “My missus will tell you I have been a bit miserable for the last nine weeks, but I am like a kid being back at school after the holidays.
“I am delighted. I loved it and I am just buzzing to be back training.
“That is going to help me because I am buzzing around and running around unnecessarily which is going to get me fitter again!
“I just feel happy. It is nice to be back among it and I will be back on the banter.”
When Best hobbled off the pitch in February he was replaced by none other than Papiss Cisse, scoring on his debut and who has gone on to establish himself as an idol among the Toon Army.
While there is great respect towards the man from Senegal in terms of what he has contributed to the team, Best wasted no time in challenging the goal-machine for his fashion sense.
Cisse was reported to have turned up for work wearing three-quarter length trousers and Best said: “Cisse’s trousers today, they were ‘short weekends’ so I had to just get on him.
“He should not be dressing like that with the stats he has. He has 10 goals in nine games so he should not be dressing like that.
“I am just happy to be back with a smile on my face as well as the other lads.”
Best will not find winning his place back easy given the form of Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba.
However, it is a challenge he is willing to accept and at least he is now able to stake his place rather than having to content himself with a watching brief from the stands.
The 25-year-old , who has four goals to his name this season, is full of praise for the trio who are tearing apart defences throughout the Premier League.
Best added: “Demba might feel down because he has not scored but it was the same for me when I was playing with him.
“He is doing the same for Cisse. He is working hard and creating chances.
“Sometimes when we are playing, they might be looking at Demba and Cisse’s getting in.
“Hatem is playing well and we are not looking behind anymore.
“Instead, we are looking forward and trying to catch whoever is in front, which is a positive. Me coming back can add a bit of positive pressure and hopefully get everyone scoring even more goals.
“I am training now so if everything goes well and I keep getting fitter I will be available as soon as I can be.”