DAVIDE Santon is determined to repay Alan Pardew’s faith in him after making his Premier League breakthrough at Newcastle United.
The full-back is set for his third start in a row against West Bromwich Albion at The Sports Direct Arena tomorrow night.
Santon kept his place after Ryan Taylor suffered a knock on the eve of Saturday’s goalless draw against Swansea City.
Taylor will have a late fitness test, but the likelihood is that Santon, signed from Inter Milan in the summer, will again line up at left-back.
Santon – who impressed with an attack-minded performance against Swansea – is ready for the challenge.
“I like working with the manager,” Santon said.
“He has placed trust in me, and I hope I can return that trust by playing well in the next few games.”
Pardew felt Santon was still getting to grips with the physical nature of the English game when he made his first start against Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup in late October.
However, Santon is confident he’s steadily adjusting to the demands of the Premier League, the pace and power of which contrasts sharply with that in his native Italy.
“I now realise that the game in England is more physical compared to Serie A, and I have adapted to that,” he added.
“I feel it’s going well for me. I’m really happy at the moment – the fans are fantastic to me personally. I have a great relationship with my team-mates, and I’m enjoying it here.
“I’m happy because at the end of the day the defence didn’t let any goals in (against Swansea), but I realise that against West Bromwich Albion, it must be a better game for us.
“It was difficult for us afterwards. We know we tried and tried to get the one goal, but we didn’t get anywhere. Because of that, morale does go down during a game.
“But it means that we must try even harder against West Brom, and try even more ways to create some goals.”
Santon played under Jose Mourinho at Inter, and while he says he and Pardew are very different characters, he believes they share many qualities, not least their “will to win”.
“Alan Pardew and Jose Mourinho are totally different, but in their own ways they are very good managers,” said Santon.
“Like Mourinho, the manager at Newcastle has always got that will to win every game and take the club forward.”