MEHDI Abeid feels committing his international future to Algeria can aid his Newcastle United career.
The combative teenage midfielder has checked out of the club’s Benton base to link up with the Desert Warriors and could be unavailable for United duty until mid-December as Algeria look to clinch a place in the Olympics in the UK next summer.
Abeid has opted for Algeria ahead of his native France, for whom he has been capped at youth level, and believes playing in the Olympic qualifiers – which is an under-23 tournament – in the next fortnight can assist him in his bid for first-team football at Newcastle.
Abeid is likely to take a step closer to the first-team picture in January when Cheick Tioté is away for African Nations duty in Gabon and Guinea, with Alan Pardew delighted with his development so far after arriving from Racing Club Lens last term.
Abeid told The Journal: “It is a great opportunity for me. The aim is to play first-team football on a regular basis for Newcastle United.
“The chance to play international football can help me to achieve this.
“I am really happy with my decision to join Newcastle.
“It has worked out for me and I could not be happier. It did not take too long to adapt.”
Abeid has made just one first-team appearance for the Magpies – in the Carling Cup in the 4-3 win at Nottingham Forest in September.
That night he showed excellent promise and looking back he said: “It was great to play for the first team for the first time.
“You have a really good feeling playing in front of those supporters. After it, I just wanted to be able to do that again.”
Abeid has also played four reserve-team games, scoring an outstanding goal against Wigan Athletic last month. Yet he will step up to the very serious business of playing for the Algerians this Sunday when they face their first Olympic qualifier against Senegal in Tangiers as Morocco host the first match on a road which could lead to St James’ Park, Old Trafford or even Wembley.
Games against Morocco and Nigeria will follow and should Abeid and company do enough to qualify for the knockout stages they will move on to the second phase of games in the first two weeks of December.
The 19-year-old has been missed in United’s second string.
Without the energetic midfielder yesterday, the Magpies’ reserves slumped to a 4-0 loss to everton in a behind-closed-doors game at Benton.
On a disappointing day in the FA Premier Reserve League, Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley’s side went behind on 24 minutes when Conor McAleny magnificently chipped Rob Elliot from 20 yards to open the scores.
Everton went further ahead when promising Greek under-21 star Apostolos Vellios tapped home Adam Forshaw’s left-wing set-piece.
Newcastle battled as the temperature dipped and the sun went down in the second half, but Davide Santon’s effort which went straight at the goalkeeper was the closest United came to getting back in the it. Elliot kept out Vellios with a great save from point-blank range, but the ex-Iraklis striker was alert as ever when he tapped home from Aleny’s effort which had been pushed away by the Londoner on 71 minutes.
The misery was complete for Newcastle with 12 minutes left when Forshaw fired beyond Elliot to wrap up a comfortable 4-0 win for former Sunderland defender Alan Stubbs’ Toffees.
NEWCASTLE UNITED RESERVES: Elliot; Nicholson, Streete, Kadar, Santon (Riley 75), Richardson, Sayer (Campbell 46), Inman, Adjei (Miele 62), Edmundsson, Vuckic. Subs (not used): Baird, Hooper.
EVERTON RESERVES: Davies; Browning, Bidwell, Lundstrum, Nsiala, Mustafi, Forshaw, Barkley, Vellios, McAleny, Gueye. Subs (not used): Fitzgibbon, Hope, Dier, Thomas, Forrester.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse.
Attendance: Behind closed doors.