OLIVIER Kemen is ready to tackle the new season at Newcastle United.
The midfielder, signed a year ago from Metz, has been training with Alan Pardew’s first-team squad this week.
And tough-tackling Kemen is determined to make an impression over the coming weeks.
The 17-year-old was the only permanent signing made by the club during Joe Kinnear’s ill-fated tenure as director of football.
However, the acquisition of Kemen – who had been scouted by Newcastle’s chief scout Graham Carr – looks to have been an astute one given his performances last term.
Kemen impressed at Under-21 level last season and ended the campaign on the fringes of Pardew’s senior squad.
Kemen could get an opportunity in United’s first-team pre-season programme, which kicks off with a fixture against League One club Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park on July 15.
“I’m looking forward to the season,” Kemen told SportMail.
“I’m working hard for that. Hopefully, I can travel with the first team again, play more games and get more experience to improve my game. I’m happy – I’m learning more.
“Every day I’m training with great players. I’m just focused on my progression and giving my best for the team.”
He is one of a number of teenagers who have stepped up to train with Pardew’s senior squad on the first week of pre-season training.
And they are pushing to make the squad for the club’s two-match tour of New Zealand.
United play Sydney FC in Dunedin on July 21. The game is followed by a match against Wellington Phoenix at the Westpac Stadium in the capital on July 26.
– MILES STARFORTH