DAVIDE Santon’s back on the training field at Newcastle United – and determined to help the club back up the table.
Alan Pardew’s players trained together for the first time today.
After a series of fitness tests over the past three days, the squad – bar those on international duty this summer – have started their arduous pre-season work.
And Santon is focused on helping Newcastle again challenge at the top end of the Premier League table.
United finished 16th last season after a dismal domestic campaign which was beset by injuries and affected by the club’s Europa League campaign.
While fans wait for the club’s first senior acquisition – the only signing so far has been that of 16-year-old Olivier Kemen – the players are slowly working towards Newcastle’s first friendly, the trip to Motherwell on July 16.
It will be defender Santon’s third season at the club after his move from Inter Milan, and his goals haven’t changed.
“When I came here from Inter, the dream was to play in Europe at St James’s Park,” said Santon.
“We did that. Now the dream is to go back there.
“Newcastle is a big club and we have all of the resources to play in those big games. We have great fans, and we are a well-supported team like Inter.
“We know we have to improve on last season.
“We have shown we have a good team here. I feel like we are a team that can beat anybody, especially at St James’s Park.
“And when we have our full team available with no injuries.”
Santon,who played under new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Inter, yearns to return to his former San Siro home – but with Newcastle.
“I came here to play in Europe, and this club should be (in Europe),” added the 22-year-old Italy international.
“One day I hope to go back to the San Siro wearing a black and white shirt.
“That would be the ultimate dream for me.”
Home now for Santon is Tyneside. He has an English partner, and he became a father this summer.
“I love the city very much,” he said. “I have my girlfriend here.
“When I first arrived here, I had my family with me. But now I feel at home.”