Sissoko is happy to play in advanced role for club and country

The Northern Echo: ON THE FRONT FOOT: Moussa Sissoko ploughs forward against Chelsea at the weekend ON THE FRONT FOOT: Moussa Sissoko ploughs forward against Chelsea at the weekend

MOUSSA SISSOKO has reassured Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew that he is more than happy to keep moving forward until Hatem Ben Arfa returns to full fitness.

Ben Arfa has been a huge loss for the Magpies since his outing at Fulham on December 10 was cut short with a hamstring problem.

And, despite talking regularly of hopes of an imminent return, Pardew will have to cope without the Frenchman when Newcastle look for a third win in a row when they go to Tottenham on Saturday.

The Newcastle manager is hopeful Ben Arfa will resume training next week, although it remains unclear if he will be fit to return to Premier League action at Southampton on February 23.

But Sissoko’s arrival at St James’ Park has provided Pardew with an alternative to play the role behind lone striker Papiss Cisse.

And after a blistering start to his career on Tyneside, the 23-year-old has hinted he is more than happy to keep playing further up the field following his £1.8m switch from Toulouse.

“When I arrived I had a discussion with the manager and he told me in the first two matches I will be playing in that role,” said Sissoko, who is renowned in France for playing more defensively.

“I had already done that for Toulouse so I knew how to play it. I would never have imagined it would have gone as well as it has so far.”

Sissoko scored two goals in Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Chelsea at St James’ Park, just days after helping Newcastle to a much-needed win at struggling Aston Villa on his debut.

He said: “This championship (the Premier League) is for me. This is the one that best fits my playing style. The last week in Toulouse was not easy but when Newcastle offered me the chance I did not hesitate.

“This is a very good club although at the moment it is a little behind in the standings.

“At Toulouse, who were a good team, there were some difficulties offensively. In Newcastle the game is more focused on going forward. It is more my qualities. I can express myself better.”

His move to the North- East also earned him an immediate call to the France squad for tonight’s friendly with Germany in Paris.

If he makes an appearance – as expected – he will claim his seventh cap and thinks the instant impact he has made at Newcastle can help his cause on international duty.

“Many positive things have happened to me recently and I hope I can bring that into the France team,” said the versatile midfielder.

“I am very happy to be back in the squad. I feel much better than when I first joined up with the squad in my first few appearances.

“I was young and shy then. I did not take risks. It was all about control.

“Today, if I want to dribble I do. If they call me up it is to see my qualities.”

Sissoko is one of four members of the Newcastle squad on France duty.

Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and, after his promotion from the standby list, Mapou Yanga- Mbiwa.

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