Football: Ferdinand's true grit

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The Independent Online
Les Ferdinand has scored 20 goals since his pounds 6m move to Newcastle last summer - only six short of his previous best return with four months of the season still to run.

Ferdinand's success in the famous No 9 shirt is propelling Kevin Keegan's side towards their first championship since 1927 and they are determined not to let the chance slip as they did a year ago.

"People have said in the past that Newcastle haven't had the sternness to cope with it, but this season we have shown our resilience," Ferdinand said. "To win things you have got to pull the best out of each other. Perhaps we didn't do it against Wimbledon, but if we are going to win the championship we have to command the best from each other week in, week out."

Ferdinand scored twice and make the other in the 3-3 draw against the Dons on Sunday. "His performance was exceptional and he scored two great strikers' goals," Keegan said. "But his work all round of holding up the ball and helping out in defence was just outstanding."

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