GABRIEL Obertan’s looking to forward his way into Alan Pardew’s Premier League team – after finally opening his account at St James’s Park.
The winger scored the only goal of the game against Club Brugge in the Europa League last night.
Obertan shot across Bojan Jorgacevic with a fierce right-footed drive after Sammy Ameobi found him in space on the right.
The 23-year-old’s only other goal came against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park last season.
And Obertan – who finds his way to Pardew’s side blocked by Hatem Ben Arfa – was pleased to have play his part.
“It was good – it was my first goal at St James’s Park,” said Obertan.
“It feels good for the confidence. For an offensive player like myself, it’s just great.
“It was a really good move. Sammy managed to keep the ball and do some tricks.
“I was at the right position at the right time. I had some time on the ball, which is sometimes hard, but I had the coolness to finish it.
“It was a tough game – we expected that. It was great for some players – Sammy, Shane (Ferguson) and all the young lads played really well.
“We got the three points, and are top of the group. It looks very good for the future.
Pardew made nine changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Sunderland in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
Obertan added: “We don’t get to play much in the Premier League, so we wanted to show the gaffer that we could have a starting position in the Premier League.
“I feel I’ve done pretty well in the Europa League, and I’ll wait for that position to come.
“I’m not going to give up. I trust myself.”
Obertan, signed from Manchester United last year by Pardew, and the former France Under-21 international is yet to convince many fans.
But Pardew said: “He really hasn’t done much wrong and at the minute he’s being kept out by our best player, Ben Arfa.
“He keeps pushing, and pushing and it’s a nice option for me – it’s a bit frustrating for Gabby, but he can’t do much more.
“He’s only 23, that kid, and he was brilliant.”
The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/