DAMIEN Duff has accused some of his Newcastle United team-mates of not caring enough whether the Magpies avoided relegation and insisted Alan Shearer was the man to weed them out of the club.
Duff has already claimed he is willing to stay at St James’s Park in the Championship as he argued Shearer was the right man to guide them back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
He said: “There will obviously be a massive clear-out, there are budgets in the Championship and also I’m sure the gaffer knows who cares about the club and who stays, who’s going to work to get out of the Championship. He knows that already.
“There is only one man to get us back up and that is Alan Shearer. I’m sure it’ll be him and I’m sure he’ll take the job.”
Duff earns more than £50,000-a-week at Newcastle and has one year left on his contract. That makes him vulnerable in Shearer’s squad culling with Aston Villa believed to be interested in him, but the 30-year-old insisted once again that he would like to stay.
He added: “From a Newcastle point of view, the aim is to come straight back up. They belong in the Premier League so it is just one season in the Championship hopefully. I haven’t really looked into it but I’ve done two years in the Championship before with Blackburn. Why not (stay)?”
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has hinted that a stint in the second tier of English football would not harm Duff’s international hopes. Trapattoni said: “He is a great player and the great players are great players, in Ireland, in Newcastle, yesterday or tomorrow.” With the possibility of a World Cup next year, Duff will be reassured by Trapattoni’s approach. Ireland can take a huge stride towards at least a play-off to reach South Africa if they get a result against Bulgaria in Sofia on Saturday.
They warmed up for the trip with a draw against Nigeria at Craven Cottage, with former Carlisle goalkeeper Keiren Westwood among six players making their debuts.
“He’s a very good goalkeeper and has impressed me in training,” said first-choice stopper Shay Given. “He’ll be the future Irish goalkeeper, for sure, pushing harder in the next couple of years and then after that I’m sure he’ll get the mantle.”
Meanwhile, United centre-back Steven Taylor has been ruled out of the European Under-21 championship in Sweden with an Achilles injury.
The England Under-21 international captain had played with the problem at the end of last season, but has been withdrawn from the squad along with Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck.