Ayoze Perez


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

On the first day back at any football club's training ground after the summer break, it always feels rather like the first day back at school - and Ayoze Pérez was the new kid on the block on Friday as he reported to the Magpies' Benton HQ for pre-season testing.

The forward, who turns 21 later this month, joined United from CD Tenerife in June and, having returned to the Canary Islands for most of the summer, is now looking forward to settling in on Tyneside.

He scored 16 goals in 34 appearances in the Segunda Division last term but knows that he must adapt not only to the Barclays Premier League but also overcome the language barrier if he is to succeed in England. But he's determined to hit the ground running and spoke to nufc.co.uk after his first day at the training ground.

"Everything's gone very well and I'm just really happy be here," said Pérez - or Ayoze to give him the name he will wear on the back of his shirt at St. James' Park.

"I couldn't wait to get started and I've been really, really looking forward to it. It's good to be here and I'm looking forward to working hard now.

"I'm going to do my best and do what I do, but of course it's important that I get off to a good start and let the coaching staff know what I'm capable of."

He added: "The players and staff have been great with me.

"Even though I can't understand too much, everyone's made a real effort to communicate with me.

"My English is not up to scratch yet but I'll be working hard to improve that and that'll make things better - but so far, so good.

"I've been having lessons in Tenerife - in the last few weeks that I was there, I was having intensive lessons and now that I'm here I'm really going to throw myself into it."

As the first of Newcastle's summer signings, Pérez has had almost two months to come to terms with the challenge ahead.

And, having left his family and friends behind in Spain, he's ready for whatever comes his way.

"Everyone's very happy for me," he said. "They know it's a big step up in level but they're happy. They're back in Tenerife and I'm here now but I received a lot of goodwill messages before coming here.

"I've had time to prepare myself mentally and that's exactly what I've done.

"I'm prepared mentally and ready for everything that lies ahead and, as I've said, I'm just excited to be here and looking forward to all of the new experiences."