Newcastle Utd boss ‘chuffed’ for Toon’s forgotten man Williamson

MY BALL ... Mike Williamson, left, challenges Loic Remy.
MY BALL ... Mike Williamson, left, challenges Loic Remy.

DEFENDER Mike Williamson stood tall for Newcastle United at Loftus Road in his first Premier League game in almost four months.

And Williamson won praise from manager Alan Pardew after helping the club secure its Premier League status at Loftus Road on Sunday.

The centre-half was pressed into action after Steven Taylor was laid low by sickness on the eve of the game.

The 29-year-old hadn’t featured in the top flight since January 19, though he started the second leg of Newcastle’s Europa League quarter-final against Benfica last month.

Williamson – who has found his opportunities limited since the arrival of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa early in the year – helped the club through a nervy 90 minutes in west London which saw Queens Park Rangers beaten 2-1.

“Mike was absolutely brilliant – I was chuffed for him,” Pardew said. “He was called upon twice – against Benfica and QPR – and he was absolutely terrific. Well played to him.”

Taylor will be available for Newcastle’s season finale against Arsenal at St James’s Park on Sunday after recovering from the illness which ruled him out at Loftus Road.

“Steven had terrible sickness and vomitting,” said Pardew, who has fielded Yanga-Mbiwa at left-back in United’s last two games.

Williamson – who is under contract at St James’s Park until 2016 – has been tipped with a summer move away from the club after finding his opportunities limited this season.

But the former Watford player, signed from Portsmouth in January 2010, signalled his intention to stay and fight for a place after the QPR game.

Williamson’s defensive colleague Fabricio Coloccini is expected to leave the club in the summer.

Meanwhile, the last few tickets for the Arsenal game sold out yesterday.