Mohamed Diame says he’s knuckling down at Newcastle United – in a bid to fight his way into Rafa Benitez’s side.
Diame is yet to start a Premier League game for the club.
I just have to be patient and keep working and show at every single training session that I want to play.Mohamed Diame
Manager Rafa Benitez has fielded Ayoze Perez at No10 so far this season – and Diame faces a battle to dislodge him.
Diame – who was involved in a training ground bust-up with Jamaal Lascelles last week – failed to convert a late chance after coming off the bench against Liverpool before the international break.
And the midfielder, signed from Hull City last summer, is determined to seize his next opportunity.
“I just have to be patient and keep working and show at every single training session that I want to play,” said the former Senegal international.
“When I come on, I need to show that I’m ready and I want to play like everyone.”
Diame says the form of Perez – who has pressed and tackled relentlessly in the club’s first seven league games – has forced him to raise his game in training.
“He’s playing very well,” said Diame.
“To be honest, all the team doing a great effort.
“We’ve started most of the games with the same XI, because they have been doing brilliantly.
“If they are doing brilliantly, it’s good for everyone, because I need to work harder for the team.”
Diame struggled for form last season after joining Newcastle, who take on Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.
The 30-year-old – who scored four Championship goals for the club – said it was his “poorest” campaign of his career.
Diame retired from international football in March to focus on his club career – and he hopes to feel the benefit of that decision over the coming months.
“I’ve got my legs now – my legs are back,” said Diame.
“I’m just waiting. I’m being patient. I have to make sure I’m ready for when the manager needs me.
“When your moment comes, you have to be ready. That’s the most important thing.”
Meanwhile, Perez says he’s playing with confidence – thanks to Benitez.
“I’m really happy to be able to have been involved with the team so much,” said the 24-year-old. “The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence, and that’s been really important for me.
“I think every player needs it, but maybe I think I needed it a little bit more. It makes me feel more comfortable on the pitch and the ball. It’s been massive for me, really important.”