NEWCASTLE UNITED manager Alan Pardew has hit back at claims that he agreed not to play Loic Remy in the final day defeat to Liverpool because his side ‘had nothing to play for.’
Speaking on international duty this week, Remy revealed the reason he did not line up at Anfield was because he didn’t want to risk injury ahead of France’s World Cup campaign in Brazil even though Pardew had revealed in his post-match press conference on Merseyside that the striker was injured.
“The coach Alan Pardew understood my point of view,” Remy said. “We had nothing to play for and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt again.”
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However, Pardew was quick to respond to Remy’s side of the story and yesterday he released this statement refuting the 27-year-old’s claims: “Following media reports today (Tuesday) concerning my player selection for our final game of the season against Liverpool, any suggestion that I colluded and agreed with our loan striker, Loic Remy, that he did not have to play in this game are wholly untrue.
“To suggest that I considered there to be nothing riding on that game is also completely false. Our final league position was at stake, as was the race for the Barclays Premier League title for our opponents, Liverpool.
“What is more, each and every one of us associated with the Club was desperate to get a result for our supporters, especially those 2,800 travelling fans who made the journey to Anfield that day.
“The reality was that Loic had sustained an ankle injury in our game against Cardiff the previous week. The results of an MRI scan conducted after that fixture revealed ligament damage and swelling around the joint.
“It was a result of this injury, and the fact that Loic was unable therefore to complete any training session during the week leading up to the Liverpool game, that meant he was not fit for selection.
“Had Loic been fit then clearly, without question, he would have been selected to play in what was a crucial game like every other.”
Pardew’s statement also comes after Remy suggested making a permanent move to Tyneside would not be good for his career. The French international has attracted interest from several clubs at home and abroad with Tottenham the latest side to have made the player an offer.
Despite the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool showing an interest, Newcastle remained hopeful they could persuade the Queens Park Rangers front man to return to St James’ Park.
However, the 27-year-old has maintained a desire to play in Europe and he admitted representing France in Brazil would be a good opportunity to showcase his talent to the world.
“The World Cup is a chance for me to showcase my ability,” the Frenchman said.
“Newcastle, who I was loaned to by QPR, want to buy me. But I do not know if I'll stay there.
“I'm at a turning point in a pivotal year. It can be all guns blazing or stagnation.
“Since the beginning of the year, apart from my injury, it has been good. And when I am fit, I think I can hurt any opposition.”
The striker, who scored 14 times in 26 appearances last season, is joined in Didier Deschamps’ French squad by Newcastle pair Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy, with the latter battling it out with Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna for the right-back berth.
Deschamps preferred Debuchy in the latter stages of Les Blues’ qualification campaign, but his attacking qualities have been called into question in his homeland, something he puts down to Pardew’s instructions.
He said: “There are people who give their opinion, and everyone is free to think what they want, but this is not my opinion (he is more defensive).
“I was frustrated because the coach (Alan Pardew) asked me to stay back, while in the France team the coach tells me to stay high (up the pitch).
“If you do not attack enough, people will say that you do not do enough offensively and if you go up too much, they will say you are not defensively sound. Which is why there will always be critics.”
With Remy expected to go elsewhere, Shola Ameobi and Luuk de Jong released and Papiss Cisse out until September, there is a necessity for Pardew to bolster his forward ranks.
De Jong had hoped to earn a permanent deal at St James’ Park after joining on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach in January, but a failure to score saw Newcastle decline to take up the option of a deal and the Holland international admits he was disappointed not to make more of an impact.
“It hurts that I didn't score, yes,” de Jong told nufc.co.uk.
“Of course I want to score goals - I'm a striker and it's what I've done at every other club I have played for.
“I didn't score goals, and that's what I should do as a striker, so I'm not happy with that.
“I played a lot of my games in the number ten role, behind the striker, and had to do a lot of defensive work as well, so it's then not always easy to get straight back up front. But I had some opportunities but didn't score and that is what I will be judged on.