EMMANUEL RIVIERE thinks Newcastle United will provide him with the perfect platform to hit the international stage – with a little help from another exciting summer signing at St James’ Park.
Riviere opened his account in a Newcastle shirt with a goal in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Sydney in New Zealand following his £6m switch from Monaco.
He displayed the power and pace to get away from the defence to score which manager Alan Pardew will hope to see on a regular basis in the Premier League next season.
And if Riviere can deliver then there is every chance France will come calling, knowing he has so far failed to break on to the senior stage for Les Bleus despite playing at every other level as a youngster.
Such targets are what are driving Riviere on because he could easily have stayed in the luxurious surroundings of Monaco rather than the cooler climes of Tyneside. He said: “Living in Monaco was a good life ... it’s a great place, the sun always shines. But I wanted to come here to feel more pressure when I play ... I do have the sea here in Newcastle too!
“Playing for France is one of the reasons I moved here. So many French players have been selected for France after moving here so I am hoping for the same. It’s a great club to be noticed so it’s a very good club for my career. It should also be nice to have the French players around to help me settle and adapt.”
Riviere has already got to know the majority of the Newcastle squad on the pre-season trip Down Under and next week he will be joined by the club’s World Cup players, including new recruits Remy Cabella and Daryl Janmaat.
Cabella is one of the signings that has really got fans talking and Riviere can see why. Having watched him develop through the ranks at Clairefontaine in the same France youth squad, Riviere is confident the Magpies have a combination of two of Newcastle’s most exciting players in the last few years.
“I played with Remy for France (youth) a number of times and I like playing with him so much because he gives so many assists for strikers,” said Riviere. “Remy is like a Ben Arfa and Cabaye together, a mix.
“He is a very good player. I am a striker, who is fast. I love to find space and to work for the team too. I don’t compare myself to anyone but I like Thierry Henry, he is my idol and that is why I came to the Premier League.
“I have watched a lot of the Premier League over the years. It’s a fantastic league and I think I can settle in to that. I can play here because I am fast and strong. I don’t fear the contract, the physical side of things. I know I will have to work at it because it is a more difficult league to France.”
Newcastle are still pursuing at least one more new signing as Pardew waits to learn if he will have another new striker in his squad for the visit of Manchester City on August 16. Arsenal’s young forward Serge Gnabry is among those being considered, although that would be a loan.