By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
His late header for the under-21s at Norwich on Monday made it two goals in his last two second-string starts and Dan Gosling is keen to transfer that form onto the Barclays Premier League stage if he's called upon for the last three games.
Throughout his two-and-a-half years at Everton, the box-to-box midfielder gained a reputation as a man for the big occasion, netting on his top flight debut against Sunderland before firing home an extra-time FA Cup quarter-final winner against city rivals Liverpool and scoring against Manchester United.
Since moving to St. James' Park in July 2010, he has had only a few opportunities but after his strike in East Anglia came on the back of another header against Reading in his previous under-21 outing, the 23-year-old is justifiably full of confidence heading into the final three matches of the campaign.
"I've always believed that I can score goals - it's just getting the chance to do it on a regular basis," Gosling told nufc.co.uk. "With the players we've got here it's been tough to break in.
"Yesterday was my first game in six weeks - I've had little five and ten minutes here and there but a player at my age needs to play football, so I went down with the lads and we managed to get a good result.
"I don't get paid to train, I want to play football, and whether that's playing for the under-21s or the first team I need games on a regular basis. That does provide a good platform, to have regular games, and when I'm not playing for the first team I like to keep myself ticking over so when the chance comes I'll hopefully be ready.
"Ninety minutes in a Premier League game is very tough; you have to be physically really fit to get through it and I feel good in myself. Obviously I'd like to have more minutes on the pitch because once you're playing week in, week out, you know where your body's at.
"But you've just got to do the best you can. Like I say, playing those games helps and I'll keep on doing it until I break through."
At Goodison Park, Gosling scored six goals in 18 starts and 19 substitute appearances to earn an England under-21 call-up, but he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which delayed the start of his Newcastle career.
This season has also been disrupted by an ankle injury suffered in an under-21 match against Aston Villa last October, but in recent weeks he's been a fixture on the bench and is now just waiting for an opportunity to show that he has improved as a player since leaving Everton.
And, with three huge fixtures coming up, he is confident that he could yet score a big goal for United this term - just as he had a habit of doing for the Toffees.
"I had a good time there - that's where I made my name and obviously I got a few important goals for the club as well," he said.
"I haven't done that here as of yet but hopefully sooner rather than later I'll get the nod and hopefully I'll be ready and able to take the chance.
"I'm not really a 'sitter' - I don't like getting it from the back four or sitting deep, I'm more in the attacking third of the pitch and getting it on the half turn and getting into the box with late runs, getting the rebounds and knockdowns. That's my game and I'm sure I would take my chance if given the nod. I'll be ready if selected.
"To be fair, I haven't been injured at all this year. The one injury I have had was when I ruptured my ankle ligament but that was from a stupid challenge in a Reserve game and if that didn't occur I would have had a fully fit season. I would have been out there every single day.
"I haven't had any niggles, touch wood. I'm doing my best and giving it my all and hopefully sooner or later I'll get the benefits."
Newcastle are five points clear of third-bottom Wigan yet remain embroiled in a relegation battle, but Gosling insisted that the squad have the necessary resolve and determination to beat the drop.
"Obviously we look at the league table and it's not good," he admitted. "We've got so much quality in the dressing room it's hard to believe that we're actually down there.
"But the players you have on paper doesn't win games and get points in the league so we have to go out there in the next three games and try and get a win and a draw, probably - we might even need two wins, who knows, but we'll go out every week and try and win the game.
"The last couple of results haven't been good enough for our standards that we set ourselves the previous year. But the players know what we need to do and hopefully we can just go out there and stay positive and win the games."
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