By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Mike Williamson is looking forward to the "adventure" of the Europa League, and is confident that United can enjoy success in the competition.
The centre-back has featured twice so far this season - both coming in the two-legged Europa League qualifier against Atromitos - and now has a Group D campaign against Maritimo, Bordeaux and Brugges to look forward to.
It is a brand new experience for Williamson, who has worked his way up from the lower reaches of the Football League to become an established Premier League player, and he cannot wait to experience more of those much-talked-about famous European nights on Tyneside.
"It was an interesting draw," the former Watford man told nufc.co.uk.
"There's some good places to go and the main thing I took from it is progression. I've been looking at where we can get the results from and how we can progress on to the next stage of the competition, and I believe it's set up well for us.
"Our trip to Greece gave us a taster of what the Europa League will entail. I personally enjoyed it, but it was also tough going, playing in the heat and humidity and then having a quick turnaround before your next Premier League game.
"The squad are looking forward to it though. It is going to be an adventure and an experience and something that we can all look back on fondly at the end of our careers.
"It's very different to the Premier League. The competitive edge, the fans - it all adds to the atmosphere and I loved that.
"Hopefully in the group stage it will be more of the same, if not even more competitive. Everyone is going to want to progress."
To get your hands on a ticket for Newcastle's first home Europa League group fixture against Bordeaux on Thursday, 4th October, click here