Mehdi Abeid

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Thursday night's 1-1 draw with Maritimo won't live long in the memory for many despite the point securing Newcastle's progress to the last 32 of the Europa League, but it was a proud night for Mehdi Abeid.

United's 20-year-old Algerian midfielder made his European debut - a big milestone in any player's career - when he replaced Sammy Ameobi in the second-half against the men from Madeira.

It was also his first appearance of the season and showed that he is still very much in Alan Pardew's thoughts having forced his way into the last few senior squads due to some impressive performances for the under-21s this term.

Abeid has made seven appearances for Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's second-string so far - only Jak Alnwick and Bradden Inman have started more - but he was given a bigger stage against Maritimo and didn't let anybody down.

And, speaking exclusively to, he said: "I was very proud to play and I was very happy. It was a very good moment - my first game in Europe.

"It was very difficult; we played against a good team in Maritimo but I tried to do my best and I hope to do better in every game.

"I would like to play more games for the confidence and to be better on the pitch. For the first time I think it was okay but I have to be better in the next couple of games if I get more chances.

"For me, I get confidence when I play and when I'm in the squad. I need to play more and have more time to be really confident and to produce quality games.

"If I play well for the Reserves I'm going to play more with the first-team. I know I have to play well and concentrate on my football and to play every week to be fit for the first-team."

Newcastle were not at their best against the side from Portugal and saw Sylvain Marveaux's first-half opener cancelled out by Fidelis' equaliser 11 minutes from time.

But they are guaranteed a place in the knockout stages with one Group D game - away to current leaders Bordeaux - still to play.

"That's the most important thing, of course, but we have to be better on the pitch," Abeid said. "We should have won but we didn't so we are a little bit disappointed. But we hope to do better in the next game.

"We need to be at the top of the group to play the lower teams (in the next stage) and to be competitive in this competition and to go far, to finish this competition and hopefully do well."

Click here to buy a Newcastle United shirt with Abeid's name and number on the back