Newcastle Utd’s Williamson flattered by England shouts

FOCUSED ON TOON ... Newcastle's Mike Williamson.
FOCUSED ON TOON ... Newcastle's Mike Williamson.

MIKE Williamson says he’s “flattered” at calls from Newcastle United fans for him to be capped by his country - but the defender says he’s only focused on serving his club.

Williamson’s form this season has led to calls for England coach Roy Hodgson to take a look at him.

And Hodgson watched the 30-year-old - who is preparing for tomorrow night’s Premier League game against Norwich City at Carrow Road - help Newcastle beat West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park last weekend.

Williamson - who fought his way up the Football League in the early part of his career before getting his move to St James’s Park four years ago - is just happy that his performances in recent months haven’t gone unnoticed on Tyneside.

“It’s fantastic for other people to say that,” Williamson told the Gazette.

“But for me it’s just about grinding results and putting performances in, like I have done. It’s about keeping that momentum going.

“It’s for other people speculate, but it’s always flattering to be linked with your national team.”

Eighth-placed United will take on Norwich, managed by Chris Hughton, looking to pressure the teams above them in the Premier League.

Pardew’s players returned from five days’ warm-weather training in Abu Dhabi late last week, and Williamson feels the the experience has refreshed the team.

“It was a time for the team to get together, do a bit of training and work on a few things,” he said. “We’ll be revived, and hopefully we can get three points a Norwich.”

While Norwich are 12th in the table, they far from safe, and Williamson, signed by Hughton during the 55-year-old’s time at Newcastle, is understandably wary.

“Every game is unique and brings different problems,” said Williamon. “They’ve been up and down a little bit, but they’ve got good players. It’s always going to be a test.”

Relegation-threatened West Ham gave Williamson and his team-mates at test at Upton Park.

“We ground it out and stood up to the onslaught in the second half,” said Williamson. “Everyone dug in, and we got the break.

“You have to have every quality to get three points, especially away from home, in this league.

“I thought we showed resilience and strength at times. I know they’ve got injuries, but on their back of their result (against Cardiff), they were full of confidence.”

Williamson had the unenivable task of stopping Andy Carroll after the former Newcastle striker came off the bench.

“He’s such a handful, and personally, I don’t think any centre-half can stop him on his day,” he said. “He’s just that big and powerful.

“You’ve just got to do what you can against him.

“His aerial power is phenomenal. I was just glad the game finished and we took the three points.”