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Former Latic Diamé keeping the faith

Written by Tom Easterby

Newcastle United midfielder Mohamed Diamé admits he hasn't quite lived up to his own high standards so far this season - but has faith he'll be able to recapture his best form on Tyneside.

The 29-year-old is the player in focus in Saturday’s official matchday programme United, with Diamé’s former club Wigan Athletic the visitors (3pm kick-off).

In an exclusive interview, the former Senegalese international discusses his time with the Latics – who were his first English club – as well the remaining eight games in the Sky Bet Championship run-in, and also candidly reflects on his own displays since his arrival on Tyneside.

And he says he can take inspiration from the return to prominence of Chelsea and Belgium winger Eden Hazard, who endured a tough 2015/16 after a PFA Players’ Player of the Year-winning campaign the previous year before bouncing back to inspire the champions-elect to the top of the Premier League this term.

“This season has been the poorest season of my career,” Diamé told United.

“It’s tough mentally. Sometimes you lose a bit of confidence and you lose confidence about how you can play.

“It’s not easy, but this is football, and it happens sometimes. You just need to keep faith in yourself.

“I can give an example – Eden Hazard. He had a difficult season last season, but he knows he’s a massive player, a good player. This year, he’s back again.”

Diamé joined this weekend’s opponents from Rayo Vallecano back in 2009, and went on to spend three seasons at the DW Stadium.

“I remember that it wasn’t easy at the beginning. To be honest, I wanted to stay in Spain before I came, and it wasn’t an easy decision,” he admits.

“I didn’t speak English, and people were telling me that in the Premier League the contact, the physicality, is difficult, and the players are stronger than in Spain.

“It wasn’t easy, but when I arrived in Wigan, I found Roberto Martinez – who is Spanish of course – and the Spanish football he liked to play, and I enjoyed it.

“I had three years there, and it was amazing. We always fought relegation and to stay in the Premier League, but it was good to play with Wigan. I will always remember this club as a good one in my career.”

Read the full interview, and much more, in the official matchday programme, which will available to purchase around St. James’ Park and in the club store at the stadium on Saturday, priced at just £3.

"When I arrived in Wigan, I found Roberto Martinez and the Spanish football he liked to play, and I enjoyed it. I had three years there, and it was amazing."

Mohamed Diamé

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