Danny Simpson

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Fit-again Danny Simpson admits Newcastle's Europa League campaign means "everything" to him, as excitement starts to build over the Magpies' prospects.

Out of action since the end of December with a broken toe, Simpson returned to the starting line-up away at Metalist Kharkiv in the Round of 32 second leg tie on Thursday night.

And the full-back put in an impressive display, helping United achieve an impressive clean sheet and a 1-0 victory in Ukraine, thanks to Shola Ameobi's second half penalty.

Simpson has new signing Mathieu Debuchy to contend with for a spot on the right-hand side of their rearguard, but with the French arrival not registered for the Europa League, his rival is eyeing plenty of game time.

"It (the Europa League) means everything, personally," Simpson told nufc.co.uk.

"With the new players that have come in, I'm realistic enough to know that I'm probably not going to get too many games in the Premier League now.

"It's not my character to sulk or complain. I know my situation at the Club, so you can't go around moping about it.

"I'm a professional footballer and I love playing football, so it's up to me to go out on the pitch when I'm picked, and give everything I've got for this Club.

"The gaffer has picked me and hopefully I showed him that if he ever does need me then he can trust me and I will do a job for him.

"The next round is coming up, I will train well and hopefully he will pick me again because he knows he can trust me."

Having comfortably progressed from the group stage and now made their way through the Round of 32, unsurprisingly Newcastle's squad are starting to cast an eye towards what might be.

And Simpson would love to lift a trophy wearing the black and white stripes.

"You start to get a good feeling now we're out of the group stage and have progressed again," he said.

"It's not that we're suddenly taking it seriously, not at all, but you can see the lads looking around and thinking 'we've got a chance here'.

"There aren't too many teams left in the Europa League, it's a massive competition and why can't we do well in it?

"I think it's about time Newcastle won a trophy! We don't want to talk about winning it too soon but it's good that we are through and we now have the squad to go on and do really well in this competition."