“You would have to ask David Moyes about that (why he was suddenly dropped). I don’t know why. I never had any problems with him. I just had a hard season but I have never had conflict or personal issues with him. Sunderland was really tough but like everything in life, you learn from things that have gone wrong. In a way, that difficult year made me a better player. I think I have progressed and now I am just concentrating on doing well for Newcastle. Everyone knows Rafa Benitez is a great manager and I knew he would help me become a better player.
“The reason I came here was because I knew Newcastle was a huge club. During a career, you can experience so many highs and lows. I knew I had to join Newcastle and that we could have some good times. But this time last year, I could never have imagined I would be signing for Newcastle. It was a big surprise when I got the call from Rafa. It’s the right move for me. I did not join Newcastle just because it was the North East and I was settled here. As a professional footballer, that should not matter. whether you are in the North East or London.
“I’m only bothered about Newcastle now. I’m not interested in other teams. When I went to Liverpool, it was my first big step and I was very young back then. And when I went to Sunderland, it was a very tough season for us. In football you never know what is going to happen in the future. You can have a really bad time and then it can quickly turn around and fortunately, that’s what has happened with me. I knew it was a massive move for me and a huge club I was joining. I was set on the move as soon as Rafa called me. I knew this would be a big step in my career, allowing me to progress. I am really happy to be here.”