Squad already Premier class, says Routledge
WAYNE ROUTLEDGE has insisted Newcastle United are already good enough to compete in the Premier League, before Chris Hughton has even begun his summer rebuilding. Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies claimed the Magpies need to spend £60m to survive on their return to the top flight but Routledge has seen enough in his three months at the club to think differently. Despite many of the players involved this season being part of the squad relegated under Alan Shearer's management last May, the improvements made under Hughton have impressed the former Queens Park Rangers winger. Routledge is seen as one of Hughton's most astute signings, and he predicts that Newcastle are already good enough to hold their own. We have good players here and a good squad. It is down to the management and hierarchy to decide what they feel they need and what they want for next season, but I feel that with the squad we have now we should be confident of going into next season, said Routledge, who scored his second goal for the club in the 4-1 win. I know how hard the Premier League can be and I am not the only one in this squad. Most of us have played up there and I am no different. I want us to show everyone what we can do. We will do our best. It will be nice to recharge the batteries in the summer but when you come back you know you have to knuckle down and be ready to stake a claim. Routledge has played most of his career in the Premier League, but after earning a move from Crystal Palace to Spurs as a 20-year-old he spent the next five years as a footballing nomad. Spells at Portsmouth, Fulham, Villa and Cardiff followed, but he feels he has found a new lease of life since signing for Newcastle from QPR. It has been a great move for me. I am enjoying playing now, especially when you have 50,000 cheering you on every week. It's a nice place to be at the moment, said Routledge. Things happen (in football) but you have to learn and take something from the disappointments you may go through. Hopefully I am a better player for that. I certainly feel I have improved and I just can't wait now for next season. I learned before that things do take time, you can't rush them. Where you are at and who you are with is also important. It's vital that you are able to find yourself and settle down. Hopefully I can do that here. Routledge reiterated the view of his manager that there will be no letting up until the final game of the season, with the Championship title still to play for. We know we are promoted but our next goal is to go up as champions and that's what we want to do, said the 25-yearold. We have goals here and things we want to achieve. There will be no letting up. We are striving to become champions. It's amazing to see the crowds we have got. To think the gates are bigger than most Premier League clubs is incredible really. This is in the Championship as well, so you just have to think what the buzz will be like next season. That's one of the reasons why I came. I played here before, been on the other side when the fans could get on your back. So it's nice to have them behind you, encouraging you. It makes you want to respond to them.
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