Fans have not seen the best of me yet, says Newcastle full-back Davide Santon

 

Newcastle full-back Davide Santon has promised there is more to come from him as he attempts to make his way in the Barclays Premier League.

The 21-year-old Italian has established himself as Alan Pardew's first-choice left-back and is likely to line up there once again at Everton tomorrow night.

However, Santon, who joined the club from Inter Milan last summer, admits he is still learning his trade in English football after a tough baptism last season.

He said: "Last season, the first few months were difficult for me because Serie A and the Premier League is totally different.

"But now I feel better on the pitch and more confident, so I am enjoying it.

"I want to help Newcastle keep improving, keep moving forward and be the best we can be.

"The fans have not seen the best of me yet though. I can still do more though - I can be much better - and I will improve while I am here."

Santon arrived on Tyneside having seen his stock fall alarmingly after a meteoric rise in his own country.

He broke into the Inter first team as a teenager and performed to such effect that then manager Jose Mourinho described him as "a phenomenon".

However, having been handed a senior international debut by Italy boss Marcello Lippi, he lost his club place to Cristian Chivu in the Inter side and when he did get his chance again, he was low on confidence.

It was under those circumstances that Pardew, who was looking for a left-back following Jose Enrique's protracted departure for Liverpool, persuaded him his future lay in England, although knowing it would take him time to adapt.

Indeed, the right-footed Ryan Taylor started last season playing in that position and did so so successfully that Santon had to remain patient as he attempted to force his way into the team.

He made his debut as a substitute in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham on October 16 and has been there or thereabouts ever since.

Santon said: "I am really enjoying it. I like Newcastle - I like the city and the people in it.

"The fans are brilliant, I like my team and I like the manager. Better than this is impossible!"

What could have been better, however, is the Magpies' start to the season, which has seen them take four points from the first nine on offer courtesy of a hard-fought victory over Spurs and a disappointing home draw with Aston Villa either side of a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

They have been far from at their fluent best with Pardew admitting some of his bigger names need to raise their games if they are to come close to matching or even bettering last season's top-five finish.

Injuries are currently severely hampering that process with keeper Tim Krul, skipper Fabricio Coloccini, fellow defenders Danny Simpson and Taylor and key midfielder Cheick Tiote all missing for the trip to Goodison Park, a ground at which they lost heavily on the final day of the last campaign.

Santon was in the starting line-up that day as strikes from Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Johnny Heitinga made Tony Hibbert's late own goal irrelevant, and he knows they will have to be much better this time around if they are to emerge with anything to show for their efforts.

He said: "Last year we lost there, and so we know that Everton are a good team.

"But we will go to Everton not for a draw, not for a loss, but for a win. We will be positive."

PA

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