Newcastle United defender Santon eager to improve

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DAVIDE Santon says his best is yet to come at Newcastle United.

The defender is in third season at the club he joined from Inter Milan.

And Santon, settled off the pitch on Tyneside with his partner and young child, is focused on improving on the field.

The 22-year-old left back faces a challenge to hold on to his jersey this season.

Academy product Paul Dummett, 22, has broken into Alan Pardew’s first-team squad this season, and 20-year-old Massadio Haidara – who impressed last term after his January move from Nancy – is close to fitness.

Pardew and his coaches are working on the defensive side of attack-minded Santon’s game, and the Italy international is keen to improve.

“It’s my third year in Newcastle, and I’m happy here,” Santon said.

“I’m just 22, and I have to always improve. I have to make myself do better every game.

“I have experience, and I know what I have to do in the game. I always do my best, and that is what I will do in the future.”

Newcastle’s away record during last season’s Premier League relegation battle was dismal – the club only won twice away from St James’s Park - and Pardew demanded an improvement this term.

And the 2-1 win at Cardiff City last weekend was the club’s second away league success of the campaign.

And Santon says he and his team-mates are driven by a determination not to repeat last season’s experience.

“I won’t forget about last season,” he said. “We really have to think about this season, now we have three wins.

“Our away record is important. We have 10 points. We’re in a good position, but we can’t stop. We have to keep going and give 100 per cent.”

Pardew had been under intense pressure before the Cardiff game after a run of two league defeats, but two first-half goals from Loic Remy set United on their way to what Santon feels was a hugely important win ahead of the international break.

“I think we played really well, especially in the first half,” he said. “We came back with three points, which was really important.

“It was important – all the team and the manager were under pressure.

“We lost one game at home and one game away against Everton. We had a poor first half there.”