The Newcastle United manager, Glenn Roeder, will send his midfielder Charles N'Zogbia into European battle maintaining that "mischievous" suggestions he could be on his way out of the club are way wide of the mark.
The 20-year-old will be one of only 11 senior players - 12 if James Milner shakes off a hip problem - fit for the Uefa Cup group game against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena. With Damien Duff out after knee surgery, Roeder is challenging the French youngster to take his chance at both club and international level amid speculation that several clubs, including Arsenal, are monitoring him.
Roeder said: "Charles N'Zogbia is an exciting talent for us and his future is here at Newcastle United. Anyone who is mischievously saying otherwise is totally wasting their time. Charles is very important in my plans for the future and you do not find players like him growing on trees.
"He came to us from Le Havre and the way he has virtually come from nowhere to make over 50 starts for us is nothing short of meteoric.
"But we must not forget that he is still only 20 and while he is extremely talented and quite rightly well liked by our supporters, especially for the flair in his game, we have got to be patient with him."
Roeder believes his experience of handling precocious talents at West Ham means he is well capable of getting the best from N'Zogbia.
"Fortunately, what is helping me deal with Charles is the fact that I had the likes of Jermain Defoe, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole as players in my time as manager of West Ham United, and I found that you cannot expect 20-year-olds to be fantastic every game," he said. "But now with Duff injured and likely to be out for some time, Charles knows that he is going to have a run in the team and that should be a great encouragement to him."
N'Zogbia played a major part in Sunday's 1-0 Premiership win over Portsmouth, and Roeder is expecting big things of him. "Part of my job with young players - and that includes Charles N'Zogbia - is that they should not start to believe their own publicity and take their eye off the ball," said Roeder.
"I know Charles is the sort of player who does not respond to the iron fist but to the velvet glove, and when he is in my office, all he needs [is] to have an arm put round him.
"I have told him that apart from regaining his best form for Newcastle United, he has to be trying to get into the French squad in the near future.
"What I have never told him is that when Tord Grip was England number two to Sven Goran Eriksson and he talked to me about Kieron Dyer, he asked me where Charles was from.
"When I told him France, he said that was a shame because he and Sven would have loved him to be part of the England set-up."
Newcastle will be without Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Stephen Carr, Kieron Dyer, Scott Parker, Celestine Babayaro, Craig Moore, Olivier Bernard and Duff in Germany, as well as long-term absentees Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi and the ineligible Giuseppe Rossi.
Academy graduates Fraser Forster, Paul Huntington, Andy Carroll, James Troisi, David Edgar, Matty Pattison and Kris Gate are all in the squad and several will make the bench for a game from which a point will be enough to secure top spot in Group H.
Spanish international Albert Luque missed the flight after being involved in a traffic accident on his way to the airport. The £9.5m signing from Deportivo La Coruña was unhurt, and due to catch a later flight.Reuse content