Kieran Trippier is adamant that transferring to relegation-threatened Newcastle will not jeopardize his England World Cup ambitions.
The defender completed his move from Atletico Madrid to Tyneside today, signing a two-and-a-half-year agreement with a pledge to help Eddie Howe’s side stay in the Premier League.
Trippier, who led England in October, is the new Saudi regime’s first signing, and claims to be a better footballer than when he left Tottenham for Spain three years ago.
He said: “Every opportunity to represent my country is an honour and because I have moved to Newcastle nothing has changed.
“I want to put on good performances for my club and show Gareth I am still playing at the highest level.
“I am up against three, four good right-backs. Most importantly I have to play well for my club and then who knows on the international stage.
“Atletico? It is different, going to a new country with my family. It was difficult at first. I am not afraid to get chucked into the deep end and test myself in Spain and that is what I did for just under three years.
“It was a great experience. I am happy I did it. I was happy to win La Liga, I made good memories there. Unbelievable club, great experience, nice people out there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I am a much better player than when I left Tottenham. Diego Simeone is a very good manager. He helped me defensively. I have matured a lot since I arrived there and I played with good players. He was a joy to play for and a privilege.
“We won La Liga. It is difficult with Real Madrid and Barcelona and you have good teams like Seville. We started well and it took off. The last three games it got tight and we won it on the last day of the season. I want to make more memories with my teammates and the club here.
“He was excited for me to come to Newcastle. The important thing is to stick together for the rest of the season. Every game is a final. Every game is a fight. Our ambition is to stay in the Premier League.”
On leaving Spain…
“Since the start of the season, there were rumours of me leaving to Atletico Madrid. It didn’t happen. I got my head down and said if anything was to come up in January.
“Newcastle came up in January and for personal reasons with my family, it was important that they were settled and we thought it a great opportunity. It was an easy decision.
“Good team, manager, and staff. The managers who have coached me know I fight for everything. I fight for Newcastle now. I know the position they are in.
“I want to help on and off the pitch to climb up the table. It is a battle. I will do my best for everyone. From now I will give 110pc and put it into the matches.”
So why Newcastle? “You look at the club, fan base, and the project that is happening now, it is very exciting. I love challenges. I tested myself in Spain and now in Newcastle.
“We understand the position we are in. We want to build and get better.
“I played here for Burnley once, a crazy game 3-3! The supporters are so loud. I can’t wait to experience it.
“Now it is the second half of the season. We need to fight for each other and the fans.”