Yohan Cabaye

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

As Yohan Cabaye prepares to make his first appearance at one of the finest stadiums in Europe, the French midfielder has reflected on his rise from the black and white of Tourcoing FC to the black and white of Newcastle United.

He will step out at Arsenal's magnificent Emirates Stadium for the first time on Monday - a far cry from the days when he would hone his skills at the amateur club managed by his father, Didier, in North France.

The Stade Van de Veegaete holds less than 4,000 people but that's where the 26-year-old started out, kicking a ball around on his own as Cabaye senior coached his side a few yards away. He went on to play for their junior teams before embarking on a career which has seen him play for his country and at some of the most famous arenas in world football.

Now regarded among the finest midfielders in the Barclays Premier League, the ex-Lille captain has never forgotten his roots and spoke to nufc.co.uk ahead of the release of EA Sports' FIFA Street, which goes on sale this week.

"Sometimes I played in the street, but not often," said Cabaye, whose outstanding performances have helped Newcastle into sixth in the table - two places and five points behind their next opponents.

"My father used to be the manager of the team near to my home, so every day I had a training session while my father trained his team. I went with him to play football. Every time, I played football, but not really in the street.

"I started playing aged five and every Sunday when my father was with his team, I went with him and played next to the pitch.

"And now I know my father is proud of me. I play for me and I play for the team, but I play for my family as well."

Tourcoing is a "medium" city near to Lille, Roubaix and the Belgian border with a population of around 100,000 people, and its football team plays at the seventh level of French football, in the Division d'Honneur R√©gionale de la Ligue du Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

They have enjoyed two successive promotions and are on course for another at the end of the current campaign, and Cabaye - who spent six years there - still follows their fortunes.

"I played there until I was 12, and then I stopped to play for Lille," said a man who lifted the Ligue 1 title with Les Dogues last term.

"The club have came up during the last four or five years. Now they are a good team; they're top of their division and I think they will go up again this season."

But even their rise has not been as meteoric as Cabaye's own, and he hopes to mark his first appearance at the Emirates with what would be a vital win for the Magpies in front of a live television audience.

"This was my dream when I was young and I've worked very hard for that, to play in these type of games," he said. "It's a big match and I want to play in this sort of match.

"That's why I came to the Premier League; to play against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and in big derbies, like the one against Sunderland last weekend.

"Tonight will be a big game for us, and for them as well. I hope we get a good result, a draw or a win, because for a European place it could be important to us."