Emre prepares to prove himself to Keegan

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The Independent Football

The Newcastle United midfielder Emre has said that the next four months could be the most important of his career as he attempts to prove himself to new manager Kevin Keegan.

The 27-year-old Turkey international was included in the starting line-up for the first time under Keegan in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Middlesbrough after serving a three-match ban for his FA Cup third round replay dismissal against Stoke City.

Emre, a £3.8m signing from Internazionale in July 2005, struggled to command a regular place under Sam Allardyce, who signed Alan Smith, Joey Barton and Geremi after arriving at St James' Park. That sparked speculation that the former Galatasaray playmaker could return to his native country.

However Emre, who was due to represent Turkey in a friendly against Sweden in Istanbul last night, insists he is going nowhere. He said: "I am focused on my future here. I love the city and I am very happy in the dressing room.

"Now I have to show everything for him [Keegan] and everything for this club. My aim though is to play more times than in the last three months.

"My country has the European Championships in June. The next four months are important for me. They are the most important four months of my career and we have to try to finish as high as we can in the Premier League for the Newcastle supporters."

Like the rest of his team-mates, Emre could not fail to be caught up in the excitement surround Keegan's return to Tyneside 11 years after his previous spell in charge ended.

However, after four games and no wins, he knows there is a need for a realistic long-term view. He said: "Kevin is a very honest man and a good manager. We are all happy in the dressing room."