Mike Williamson wants to stay at NUFC

GET STUCK IN ... Mike Williamson combines with Mathieu Debuchy to stop Loic Remy.
GET STUCK IN ... Mike Williamson combines with Mathieu Debuchy to stop Loic Remy.

MIKE Williamson islooking to stay at Newcastle United – despite a season on the fringes at St James’s Park.

The defender was in the side that secured the club’s Premier League status with a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Sunday.

It was Williamson’s first top-flight appearance since January.

The 29-year-old has been tipped for a summer exit, having found his opportunities limited this season.

However, Williamson – who joined United in January 2010 – isn’t looking to leave St James’s Park.

Asked if he wanted to stay at Newcastle, Williamson said: “Of course. I want to work hard in the summer and come back as fit as possible and fight for my place.

“You never know what is around the corner in football – it’s a funny old game – so one more game, and hopefully we can get three points and enjoy our summer.”

Williamson was handed a rare start against QPR after Steven Taylor was laid low with illness on the eve of the game.

While frustrated not to have played more games over the past few months, Williamson – who has made 101 appearances for United – enjoyed being involved in the club’s Europa League campaign.

“It has been an up and down season for myself,” he said.

“There have been a few disappointments, but I have got to look back over the last two seasons and realise the 5-1s, the 3-0s of Man United, the Arsenal comebacks and the big games – the Benficas – that I’ve been involved in.

“On a personal level, that’s been fantastic experience, and I’ve had a fantastic journey in Europe. I’ve got to take a lot of positives out of it personally.”

United came from behind at Loftus Road and won thanks to goals from Yoan Gouffran and Hatem Ben Arfa.

“There is a lot of relief in the changing room, and with the fans,” added Williamson. “We are aware of what they’ve endured this season.

“As players, maybe we have not hit the heights personally and collectively, but we just want them to know it wasn’t through a lack of effort and commitment.

“Hopefully, we can enjoy the last game, the fans can have a great day out, and we can try to get a big scalp against Arsenal.”

Pardew again hit out at recent reports of dressing-room unrest after the game, and Williamson felt the performance on the pitch answered a few questions that have been asked of the club’s squad.

“There has been a lot said about it, a lot of speculation, but you could see the commitment and the euphoria after the game between the players,” he said.

“There is a lot of passion now, and we’re a very tight bunch.”

The pressure will be on Pardew, expected to stay on as manager, to replicate last season’s fifth-placed finish next term.

Looking ahead to next season, Williamson went on: “Whether we add a few in the summer or not that is down to the manager, but I feel we have all the quality and the attributes to replicate what we did last year.

“I know it has been a tricky, tricky season, but hopefully with a bit more of a rub of the green we can do what we did.”