Steve McClaren has once again returned to ‘poison-gate’ and talked up midfielder Cheick Tiote,
The Newcastle star was named by a journalist on Sky Sports as being ‘poison’ in the Newcastle United dressing room.
You can understand McClaren trying to help build up Cheick Tiote’s confidence but you still have to keep a grip on reality.
With so few credible options in the middle of the pitch, the Head Coach has played Tiote in the last four matches and he has been really poor.
This though doesn’t stop Steve McClaren going way over the top, claiming that the player is getting back to the top form he showed when playing for him at FC Twente, form in Holland which McClaren describes as…’wow’.
It would all be a little more believable if it wasn’t for the fact that Steve McClaren obviously didn’t rate Cheick Tiote very much at all when they were together at FC Twente.
They were together for two years and in the first season he picked him 17 times to start league matches, then in the year that he won the Dutch title, Steve McClaren only picked Cheick Tiote to start 10 league games. The midfielder turned 24 at the end of that title winning season so it wasn’t as though he was just starting out on his football career.
I only hope that McClaren is building Tiote and Cisse up in the hope of selling the pair in January and bringing in a couple of decent players in their place, rather than talking them up because we are going to be relying on them for the rest of this season and possibly beyond.
“Three or four weeks ago Cheick Tiote is supposed to be poison in the dressing room and I laughed when I saw it.
“He is the least poisonous player you can imagine, no one has ever got a bigger smile on their face, he just wants to play.
“The staff, they don’t know him but I know him, they came to me the other day and said ‘My God, how hard does he work in training?’
“Honestly you watch him, he’s everywhere. He is 29 but I had him when he was younger when he was a kid ( FC Twente). What he was doing then – ‘Wow!’
“He’s starting to get somewhere back towards that level now.
“He (Tiote) has never been one ounce of trouble. Papiss Cisse? Never been one ounce of trouble. Never been.
“There was all this stuff about them being late and everything, not at all. That is what annoys me because we have no real issues, we have just got a little bit of hangover from the past.”
(To feature like John, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)