Newcastle defender Haidara targets full French cap

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AMBITIOUS Massadio Haidara wants to nail down a first-team spot at Newcastle United next season – and make his full French debut.

The left-back was one of the few positives for the Magpies this season after signing from Nancy in January.

The 20-year-old wasn’t expected to figure much for Alan Pardew’s side as he bedded into life on Tyneside, but ended up playing regularly as injuries hit the first-team squad.

And the confidence he has gained from shining in the Premier League and Europa League has “altered his objectives” so much that he now is targeting a spot in the France national side.

“Changing club in January was something that made me alter my personal objectives, because playing here in the Premier League – and for such a big club – may put me in the limelight a little bit more,” said Haidara.

“It may give me the experience necessary to push up to the next level.

“My immediate objective is to cement my position in the Newcastle team, play as many games as possible, and then hopefully if I can climb those steps one at a time I can get up to a full cap for France.”

Haidara missed the last three games of the season with a hamstring strain, and that has meant he has been forced to pull out of the France Under-21 side for this summer’s Toulon Tournament.

“I’ve already been lucky enough to play for the Under-21s last year, so already have a bit of experience there,” Haidara added.

“It is an honour to be called up. Unfortunately, with my injury I won’t be able to play this summer, but I hope to be able to be called up again next time they have a selection.

“Representing my country is something I really hold close to my heart. It brings you a lot of experience which can only benefit you at club level as well.

“We now have the holidays, which gives me a great chance to rest up and I am relying on being back on the first day of pre-season, ready to go again.”