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Faye to put club before country.

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Newcastle midfielder Amdy Faye will call time on his international career following the forthcoming African Cup of Nations after revealing his determination to establish himself as a Gallowgate regular.

The much-maligned 28-year-old has answered his critics in recent weeks with some impressive performances in the United midfield but, having been named in the Senegal squad preparing for duty in Egypt next month, Faye will miss five club fixtures at a critical stage of the season.

The timing could not have been worse for a player who has taken full advantage of Emre's absence by delivering a string of displays which have suggested he could have an important part to play in the Magpies' future.

It seems it will be his last involvement with the Terenga Lions.

"The travelling is tough so I think the time is right to stand aside from international football after this tournament," the former Portsmouth midfielder told Newcastle's official website last night.

"It's hard that the African Nations Cup is coming up because I have worked hard to get my place back at Newcastle. It's important for me to play well for Newcastle but it's also good for any player to play for his country.

"This tournament is really important to me, it's a big competition and we have a chance of doing well. But this will be my last tournament for Senegal because, after this, there's a long time before the next big tournament. We didn't qualify for the World Cup in the summer and it's a long time until the next one."

Having produced his best performance in a black-and-white shirt against Aston Villa at the start of this month, Faye has maintained his fine form and impressed in the back-to-back victories over Arsenal and West Ham.

For the first time in his United career, the Dakar-born schemer is in the Magpies team on merit and he is aware of the high price that he will pay for his involvement with the Senegal team next month.

"I have had to wait for my chance at Newcastle this season," added a player who, despite Harry Redknapp's desire to lure him back to Fratton Park, insisted he is keen to remain in the North-East.

"I will miss five games while I'm away but, when I come back, I will fight to get back into the side. It will be difficult for me but there is so much competition in this squad, every player has to fight to stay in the team."

Meanwhile, United's teenage midfielder Matty Pattison last night put pen to paper on a new contract which will keep him at St James's Park until the end of the 2007/08 season.

The 19-year-old has endured 15 months of injury problems, having suffered a cruciate ligament problem last year.

But, having battled back to full fitness, the South African-born player has been rewarded with an improved deal.

He said: "Hopefully I can go on now and have a good season and try to get into a couple of senior squads ( that's the aim.

"It is a great day for me and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2005
Words:533
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