Davide Santon swayed by Newcastle United’s Euro dream

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DAVIDE Santon left Inter Milan for Newcastle United – then set his sights on helping the club back into Europe.

The 20-year-old yesterday signed a five-year deal on Tyneside.

Santon – who can play in both full-back positions – insisted after putting pen to paper that it was an easy decision to leave the San Siro and try his luck in the Premier League with Newcastle.

And Santon – who cost a reported £5million – hopes United will again take on the likes of Inter on the European stage, the two clubs having met in the Champions League’s second group stage eight years ago.

“This was the right time for me to leave Inter,” said Santon.

“When Newcastle asked me to move here, I said yes straight away. The proposal of Newcastle and the timing, was perfect.

“I have signed for five years for that very reason – I want to grow up with this team.

“The team can grow together and win things and I hope we can do that often.

“We need time and I know that. I’m happy to be here and I hope to win a trophy.

“I hope to go into Europe with Newcastle. It would be a dream come true and something I want.

“I think that every man here can help this young team to improve and get the best results possible.

“I think the supporters are incredible here. They make me want to give even more than the maximum that I can give on the pitch.”

Santon was handed his Inter debut by Jose Mourinho and the Italy international credits the former Chelsea manager, now in charge of Real Madrid, as being one of the biggest influences on his career.

“I must say a big thank-you to Mr Jose Mourinho,” added Santon.

“He has been really important for me. He has taught me to give 100 per cent out on the pitch and other important things.

“He has been really important to my career. I can only thank him.”

Santon had talks with United manager Alan Pardew yesterday at the club’s training ground before the deal was signed.

“Mr Pardew has been fantastic with me,” said Santon.

“I was really impressed with him when I met him for the first time. I really like him because he wants to speak to players as men.

“Now I want to show him exactly what I can do on the pitch. It’s a big desire for me to do well for this club. I want to pull on that black and white shirt as soon as possible.”

Santon belives he has swapped one football-obessed city for another and Santon – who played in the fierce fixtures against AC Milan – is already relishing his first Tyne-Wear derby, with Sunderland, due at St James’s Park on March 3.

He went on: “It’s like Milan I think – everybody loves their football.

“When the supporters see me, I’m happy, because they like me already.

“It’s a compliment to be asked for a photograph or give them my signature. It’s no problem. I’m happy to be living with them in this city.”

“I have never experienced an English derby, but I hear the game against Sunderland is something very special ,and one that you have to win if you wear a black and white shirt.

“I want to live this experience. It is going to be like a Milan derby, because you have to win against your rivals.

“My thoughts of this game are good because I can’t wait to be part of this derby. It’s the most important game.”

Asked about Newcastle’s game against Inter at the San Siro in March 2003, which saw Alan Shearer net twice in a 2-2 draw, Santon added: “I have only small memories of this game, but who wouldn’t know who Alan Shearer is?

“He is a club legend. I went sometimes to watch Inter as a child.

“I was a supporter and I enjoyed watching the games in Serie A. The San Siro is a great stadium and the atmosphere is fierce.”

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