NEWCASTLE UNITED'S hopes of landing Chelsea centre-back Robert Huth have been boosted after the German admitted to a bust-up with boss Jose Mourinho.

The 20-year-old has been left kicking his heels as Chelsea have remained unbeaten in both domestic and European competition.

A clearly frustrated Huth was yesterday forced to backtrack on reports in Germany that he had handed in a transfer ultimatum at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho held clear-the-air talks with the centre-half this week but their relationship has become strained, and the Blues manager may opt to offload the player in January.

Despite reiterating his wish to play for the Chelsea, Huth said: "Obviously I want to play, but at the moment I'm a bit short of games.

"The manager has to make his decisions and I'm not playing.

"I have been in this situation for the last three years, so it is nothing new for me. I just have to work hard and keep my head down."

The giant centre-back was Sir Bobby Robson's top target to replace the departed Jonathan Woodgate and he still remains high on the Magpies' wanted list.

Rangers Jean-Alain Boumsong has also been linked with a move to Tyneside, but Manchester United's Wes Brown is believed to be Newcastle's No 1 choice in central defence when the transfer window opens after Christmas.

However, the Manchester-born 25-year-old has an appalling injury record and would be considered a risk following the problems encountered with Woodgate.

Huth showed against Newcastle last term that reputations mean nothing as he trampled all over Alan Shearer and generally impressed the watching Magpies, despite being on the losing side.

Souness has gone on record to say defence is one area of his squad he knows needs strengthening and if Huth is available he will no doubt interest the Scot, who may even opt to bring in two centre-backs.

* Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas professed his satisfaction after his first start for England in the 1-0 win in Azerbaijan.

Jenas slotted into David Beckham's role on the right side of midfield, putting in a tidy performance before being substituted by Shaun Wright-Phillips late on.

Jenas said: "Will Beckham struggle to get his shirt back? I don't know about that but it was great to put on the England shirt and make my first start for my country.

"It was a great performance from the lads."

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