GABRIEL Obertan’s told of his joy after coming in from the cold at Newcastle United – and getting the club off the mark ahead of a long winter.
Obertan’s goal against Leicester City on Saturday gave Alan Pardew’s side a hard-fought 1-0 win at St James’s Park.
The strike – Obertan’s first at home in the Premier League – eased the pressure on manager Alan Pardew, who had left the 25-year-old out of his squad for the club’s summer tour of New Zealand.
Obertan, left to train with the club’s development squad, looked set for a summer exit along with Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux.
But the former Manchester United winger, signed three years ago, now finds himself back in the fold at Newcastle, who remain in the relegation zone.
“I’ve been waiting for a while to score at St James’s,” said Obertan. “It’s been a tough season for me last year, and I’m glad to be back in the team and be useful.”
Asked about being left out of United’s pre-season squad, he said: “I kept on working hard.
“It’s easy to train when you’ve got the coaches patting you on the back, but these moments by yourself ... you have to work hard and dig deep.
“I’ve always been confident in my ability. It might be a surprise for some people, but not for me.
“It’s a great feeling at the moment. It’s great – not just for me but for the team.
“I know it’s been quite frustrating for the fans. I hope the first win gives them something to celebrate.
“We needed that win to get the confidence back, and I think we are going in a good direction right now.”
Pardew feels pacy Obertan could yet establish himself at Newcastle.
“He (Obertan) is a player that needs to build his own self-confidence,” he said. “He has been terrific for us this season, and I had a feeling that he could come and still be a great player, Gabby.
“He’s only a young player. You look at his age – he has got tremendous experience – and he needs to deliver.
“I was so pleased he got the goal. It capped a great display, I thought.
“When we finished fifth, he played a big part in that season, and I never forgot that. Being a young player, sometimes you have to wait. It doesn’t always fall into place.”
Pardew hinted that Obertan will keep his place for Saturday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
He added: “He has been terrific, and he certainly warrants a start in this team.”
Obertan’s previous goals came in a league win at Blackburn Rovers in the 2011-12 season, and a Europa League victory over Club Brugge at St James’s Park the season before last.