Club before country for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew ahead of Norwich City visit
- Credit: PA
Alan Pardew is urging his World Cup-bound stars to carry on their international form against Norwich City when they return to Premier League business.
French quartet Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko and Loic Remy, along with Nigeria's Shola Ameobi, all helped their respective countries reach next summer's tournament in Brazil over the past two weeks of play-off action. Pardew is warning his international contingent, which also includes Holland's Tim Krul and Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote, they will need to perform for the Magpies over the next few months to be part of those World Cup finals.
'For us, Norwich is the most important game,' said Pardew. 'We have had some really good news in terms of Newcastle and most of our players have made it to the World Cup, with only Papiss (Cisse) really missing out. The French game was significant, obviously, to be 2-0 down after the first leg and to come back and win 3-0 has been an enormous boost for them.
'Cabaye being at the centre of that and Debuchy playing both games was really good news for us, so our guys are really pleased about that. Now it's about focusing on an important game for their club. They have to let that go. It's great for them, they can look forward to the draw and the World Cup.
'We knew at the start of the season when our performance director put a programme in place that was going to be really tough knowing that at the back of this season, they have a World Cup. Their preparation has been very good and they have worked very hard, so where we stand today six months away, they are in great shape. Hopefully they stay clear of injury and we have a good season and at the moment the signs are good.'
Veteran striker Ameobi is out-of-contract at the end of this season, but Pardew refuses to be drawn on whether the 32-year-old is part of his long-term plans as he looks to seal a place in Nigeria's squad for the finals.
'I don't know what happens with Shola in the future - he could become Prime Minister one day with his personality - but we certainly want to keep him around the club if we can,' said Pardew. 'I don't think he will be going to another World Cup by his own admission, but it's fantastic for him and for Nigeria. He's a top, top player and they are fortunate to have him. He could be a surprise package in that World Cup, Shola.
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'He has matured as a striker. He know he is in good form at the minute and I think he could do well on that stage.'
Pardew is confident his Senegal striker Cisse will not suffer any hangover following his personal World Cup heartache.
'Maybe the fact that his country is out of the World Cup, he probably realises it's now really important now to focus and get back in the team and score goals,' said Pardew. 'He's a big player for us and we need him in the goals.'