Massadio Haidara

United star Massadio Haïdara swapped the dressing room tactics board for a classroom chalk board on Tuesday, when he visited a local school to take part in a special interactive language lesson.

The French defender, who arrived at St. James' Park alongside another four of his countrymen in January, was at Newcastle School for Boys, in Gosforth, to promote the benefits of learning a new language, getting involved with a number of activities including a question and answer session based on his life as a footballer.

The children were encouraged to put their promising French skills to the test by asking Haïdara a series of questions in his native tongue, with topics including his arrival in Newcastle, his home and his favourite foods, films and music.

The 20 year-old left back, who is continuing to learn English following his move to Tyneside, said: "The lesson went well. The questions were in French and were about the things I like doing, particularly away from the football pitch, so it was a little easier for me to answer.

"If I put myself in the children's' shoes, I can appreciate the challenge of learning French. I'm obviously doing it the other way from French into English and I know how difficult it is, but in a little bit of time they'll be doing a fantastic job and I hope I'll do the same.

"I've had a few difficulties with English but hopefully I've used my time here to catch up! I really enjoyed the day; it was a very nice thing to have done for myself."

Trappes-born Haïdara made his Magpies debut just last week, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 UEFA Europa League victory over Metalist Kharkiv in the Ukraine to set up a Round of 16 tie with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

The French Under-21's arrival in the January transfer window brought the number of Frenchmen in Alan Pardew's first team squad to ten, leading to Sunday's French Day celebrations as the Magpies defeated Southampton 4-2.