Newcastle star Dan Gosling hopes for Europa League chance

FIT AND IN FORM: Dan Gosling
FIT AND IN FORM: Dan Gosling

DAN Gosling is hoping to kick-start his Newcastle United career in the Europa League.

Gosling started last week’s tie away to Atromitos in Greece and the midfielder is hoping to make manager Alan Pardew’s starting XI for Thursday night’s return.

The versatile former Everton player made just just one Premier League start last term.

Now fully fit, Gosling – who impressed in pre-season – is determined to help United into the group stage of the Europa League, which will mean more games and more opportunities for those on the fringes of Pardew’s team.

“I feel good,” Gosling said. “Hopefully, there are many more games to come this season and it’ll be a big year for me.

“I played with Everton in the Europa League. We want to try to progress and go as far as we can – it’s a big competition.

“The fringe players could get opportunities in Europe, and whoever plays, has to get it right and give the manager another headache for the weekend.”

In Athens, Denis Epstein’s opener for Atromitos was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by a Ryan Taylor set-piece. Gosling, supporting striker Papiss Demba Cisse, won the free kick.

“It was a bit of a shock to go behind,” added Gosling. “They kept playing in behind us and the fella got in and slipped it past Harps (Steve Harper).

“We could have probably dealt with that better, but after we conceded, we came out and everyone knows what Ryan Taylor’s like at free-kicks.

“We managed to get a foul and he’s put it in the top corner. The fella brought me down, so I’ll claim an assist for that!

“It was tough out there. Hopefully, there’ll be a bit more space at home.”

Pardew made nine alterations from Newcastle’s opening league game – the win over Tottenham Hotspur – for the Atromitos tie.

And he seems certain to make a number of changes for the return leg, such is the importance of keeping his first-choice XI fresh for Sunday’s home league fixture against Aston Villa.

United’s pre-season was, in part, geared towards preparing the players for European football and Gosling feels the way Pardew’s side controlled possession at the Peristeri Stadium bodes well.

“Hopefully, we can go on to win the game, but we can’t take it for granted,” said Gosling.

“They finished fourth in the league in Greece, so it’s not going to be easy. We have to go out there and do it.”