Enrique finally finding his feet at Newcastle

17 October 2009 09:27
DESPITE their relegation to the Championship in the summer, Jose Enrique has admitted that he has never been happier in more than two years on Tyneside.[LNB] Throughout his first two seasons as a Premier League footballer, the Spaniard was stung by criticism from the stands after a number of disappointing displays following his move from Villarreal.[LNB] The 23-year-old found life hard in the North-East, particularly last season when Newcastle struggled, and ultimately failed, to stave off the threat of relegation.[LNB] However, after a summer in which a number of high profile players have departed, the dressing room has become a more relaxed environment something which Enrique feels has contributed to Newcastles relative success.[LNB] I dont know why, but the team seems more together this year. We have an excellent spirit, whether it is the English players or the foreign ones like me, said Enrique.[LNB] We are all in this together and we are all working hard for the club. It is similar players to last season but it feels different.[LNB] The atmosphere is much better and everybody is happy. We have seen that in the games, when we score a goal, everyone celebrates together, everyone is pleased for each other.[LNB] That is why results have been good, everyone is together.[LNB] Its the happiest Ive been as a Newcastle player because it is a happy place to be.[LNB] When Sam Allardyce agreed to pay £6.5m for Enrique in July 2007, Newcastle fans instantly expected a world-class defender who would maraude down the left flank on a regular basis.[LNB] But the former Spain Under-21 international was ojnly 21 when he signed and he feels that life in the Championship is actually helping to make him, and his teammates, better players.[LNB] Im still learning and Im still developing, said Enrique, who has shrugged off a hamstring problem to play at Nottingham Forest tonight. I will be better for this experience this season, we all will be.[LNB] Everybody would have preferred to stay in the Premier League, but we made mistakes and we are paying for them. In the summer I made up my mind that I wanted to stay and make up for those mistakes and get Newcastle back into the Premier League.[LNB] It is a different experience and it has been a hard one because relegation was very painful for the team and me, but in the long term I will be better off for it.[LNB] It is all experience and you learn from that. If we can go straight back up after just one year, I think this will have been a good experience because it has toughened me up as a player.[LNB] Everyone wants to go straight back up and that is what we aim to do.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo