NEWCASTLE United defender Davide Santon is determined to put a difficult year behind him – and get his career back up and running in 2015.
Santon is ready to make his first-team comeback after eight months on the sidelines.
The 23-year-old – who had a summer operation on his knee – hopes to be on the bench for this afternoon’s home game against Burnley.
Santon suffered a minor ankle knock in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Gateshead, which ended 1-1, but he is confident it won’t rule him out of the first fixture of the New Year.
“It was just a little kick, but nothing to worry about,” said Santon. “It’s fine now.”
Santon set up Newcastle’s goal – scored by striker Adam Campbell, back from a month-long at League Two strugglers Hartlepool United – against Gateshead.
More importanlty, the Italy international felt no pain in his knee.
“I feel good,” said Santon. “Of course, (there is) still a lot to improve, but I’m really happy with my first game.
“I’m looking forward to getting back with the first team. It was a good game.
“I felt good when I ran. I’ve been out eight months – it’s a really long time. I’m really happy to get myself back and play 60 mintues.
“The fitness is the first thing to work on. I have to be careful with my knee, but it was not swollen after the game. The doctor was happy.”
Santon was an unused substitute against Everton on Sunday despite having not played a game.
Having played 60 minutes against Gateshead, Santon feels he will be ready to play if he’s needed by caretaker manager John Carver.
“If I’m going to be on the bench, I will be a ittle bit more ready,” he said.
Left-back Santon, signed from Inter Milan in the summer of 2011, has made 93 appearances – and scored one goal – for Newcastle.