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Magpies midfielder dreams of World Cup date with the French
12:00am Saturday 12th October 2013 in Sport
VURNON ANITA is not the only Newcastle United player to be still wondering if his World Cup dream will be fulfilled next summer.
While Holland’s place in Brazil 2014 was already secured before last night’s qualifier with Hungary, the Dutch midfielder has plenty work to do to get there.
The 24-year-old has three international caps and has represented his country at every level from Under-17 up so is high in national team coach Louis van Gaal’s thinking.
But with his place at Newcastle hardly nailed down despite impressing this season, Anita fears he will be unable to force his way back in to Gaal’s squad before the World Cup after being recently overlooked.
The former Ajax man at least knows he has a World Cup place to fight for, while many of his team-mates at St James’ Park still have further victories to deliver to book their spot.
Newcastle’s French contingent play Finland on Tuesday in their final qualifying fixture in Group I, where Spain lead the way ahead of the final round of games.
And with France staring at a runner-up berth, the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Loic Remy, Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy are expecting to be battling it out for a World Cup spot via the play-offs.
Anita has not given up on playing in next summer’s final just yet – and thinks it would be great for Newcastle if he could line up for Holland against his French club-mates in South America.
“I would love that with my Newcastle team-mates against me,” said Anita. “I would love to get to the World Cup but I have to take it step by step and my first priority is for my club and I need to play well to get into the national team. I really hope I can regain my place in the Netherlands squad.”
Anita, who has to compete with former Manchester City midfielder Nigel De Jong, among others, for a central midfield spot in the Holland squad, knows he needs to play more regularly for Newcastle to fulfil his ambitions.
Despite being one of Newcastle’s better players in the defeat to Everton on September 30, Anita lost his place for the victory at Cardiff City. The result in South Wales is likely to mean he does not start against Liverpool a week today.
Anita knows he needs to find a way of staying in manager Alan Pardew’s Premier League side to make Van Gaal take notice.
He said: “I think they are looking at everyone and if you play a lot of football and perform well, you will get selected. But first thing is first and Newcastle is my priority. If I do well, it benefits everyone, the team and myself. But yes, of course, I want to play in the World Cup - and I’ve made a decent start.”
Anita also thinks there is more to come from Newcastle as a whole, after an inconsistent start to the campaign. He said: “We have very, very good footballers but I think everyone learns from each other in this system.”
Pardew is keen to see some transfer movement in January after a summer in which Remy was his only new recruit when he moved on loan from Queens Park Rangers. And yesterday Manchester City’s Micah Richards, a right-back capable of playing centrally, emerged as a possible target.
* A special Mackem Slayers dinner will take place on Sunday, October 20 (noon) at Dunston’s Lancastrian Suite with all proceeds going to the Fairs Club, which hopes to raise money to have a plaque of Joe Harvey placed at the Gallowgate.
Alan Shearer, Scott Sellars, Liam O'Brien, Vic Keeble, Ron McGarry, Keith Dyson, Tommy Craig, Bryan Pop Robson and Ollie Burton are all supporting the dinner.
Shearer said: “I am delighted that I'm able to attend the dinner to help raise funds to go towards the Joe Harvey plaque. When you look at Joe's achievements at Newcastle United he is most deserving of this type of recognition at St James’ Park.
“The games against Sunderland were always special. The build up and the occasion is unique and to have captained winning teams and scored in those games is very special to me.”
Tickets are available from www.wraithpromotions.com priced £30 for VIP includes food. £10 standard ticket is for entry only.
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