MEHDI Abeid is raring to get back on the pitch for Newcastle United after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
The midfielder broke his toe on international duty for Algeria in mid-November, but did return to play for Newcastle in the Premier League game at Burnley the following month.
However, he has not played since then, and the injury forced Abeid to rule himself out of contention for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The 22-year-old – who had just started to make a first-team impact at Newcastle before suffering the injury – was an unused substitute in the Magpies’ loss to Southampton last Saturday.
He then travelled with his team-mates for a training camp in Dubai, and says he is delighted to be back on the pitch.
The midfielder said: “I need to get back in the team now by training every day to be fit for the next couple of games.
“I’m really glad to be back in training – it’s what I need now.
“It was a long and bad injury. It took really long to recover, but now I’m back and hopefully I’ll get fit as soon as possible for the next games.
“Now (the toe is) completely fine, but I need some training and some games to get back 100 per cent fit.
“I wanted to get back in the team so quickly, as it was a really, really long time to be injured, and to be with the physios every day.
“Now I’m just enjoying my time on the pitch.”
France-born Abeid has Algerian parents, but is yet to make his senior debut for the country.
He received his first international call-up in November and was expected to appear, but the broken toe ruled him out of contention.
It also forced him to pull out of the Africa Nations Cup, something Abeid feels he had little choice but to do.
He added: “Of course, it was a disappointment (to miss the Africa Cup of Nations).
“I could have done it, but I said to the coach I wasn’t 100 per cent fit.
“There would have been no point going there and playing at 50 per cent, so I spoke with the coach and he told me to stay here to have some training and get back as soon as possible.”
Before Abeid’s injury, he had just broken into the first-team picture at Newcastle after a year on loan at Panathinaikos.
A terrific performance in the 2-0 League Cup win at Manchester City in October meant he kept his place, and he made his Premier League debut in a 1-0 victory over Liverpool, during which he excelled.