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Ping-pong king Guthrie aiming to prove his class
Published : 23 Oct 2010 09:02:18Rss feed
THERE is discontent within the ranks at Newcastle United. Danny Guthrie is ready to lead a revolution he wants a table-tennis table introduced to the games room at the club's Darsley Park training complex. Since his days with Liverpool, Guthrie has become something of a ping-pong king and is willing to take on anyone who comes his way to prove he is No 1. But there is a problem. Steve Harper's dartboard and the pool table mean there is no room at the training ground and Guthrie's challengers are having to go to his house to test him out. Nile Ranger, Danny Simpson and Leon Best have all come off second best, now Guthrie has his eyes on fixing a date to defeat his latest rival Andy Carroll. I will have to ask Steve Harper, he is in charge of that sort of thing, maybe we could get rid of the pool table, said Guthrie. I don't know if he plays but he would probably be good at it because he is good at everything. It is something I want to put right because I am terrible at darts. It's too far away. I can hardly reach the wall. When I am at home I play a lot of table-tennis, that's where I have to play, so I have got one up in my house. I am pretty good at it. Whoever comes to the house, we will always have a game. Guthrie's talents go back to his Academy days at Liverpool, where he would spend many lunch-times playing table-tennis. Such is his interest, he tried to watch it when the Commonwealth Games were on and on YouTube. It is a great way to relax, he said. Guthrie is going to need more time to relax now that he is fit again, having returned to the Newcastle team after recovering from a knee injury in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Wigan. Having been such a crucial member of the Championship title winning team, the 23- year-old was devastated to have been ruled out for three months on the eve of the Premier League opener at Manchester United. It was brilliant to get a start after so long, I enjoyed it, he said. Now he is looking at making an impression in the remainder of season. Newcastle have to prove we are a Premier League club and I have to prove I am a Premier League player, he added. The team has to show it belongs here and from personal point of view I have to show this is my level. I have ambitions to be a top player and I think I have that ability as a player if I can get a consistent run in the team. That is what is needed. Career-wise you never know what is going to happen. You can have a good two or three months and then you can end up getting called up into the England squad. I believe in my own ability. It is just about putting it all together. A failure to win any of their last three home matches, losing two, has increased the pressure on Chris Hughton ahead of today's trip to West Ham United. And knowing that Sunderland's trip to St James' Park is just eight days away, more pressure will inevitably fall the manager's way if things do not improve before that game. But Guthrie thinks it is wrong to question Hughton's position, just months after helping Newcastle to promotion after turning around the fortunes of a club that had been in decline. The pressure is on again after last week, he said. These are the games where we need to be picking up points, of course. Everyone wants to be playing against Chelsea but I feel the really big games are the ones against the likes of West Ham, who are likely to be around us. It is unfair to question Hughton. But it's the way football works and we all know this sort of stuff happens.