Jesus Gamez made only his second Championship start for Newcastle on Tuesday night.
The Spanish defender playing right-back in the 0-0 draw with Reading, three and a half months after he started in the 1-0 home defeat to Blackburn when Rafa made numerous changes ahead of the League Cup quarter-final game at Hull.
The only other appearance was as a late sub against Brighton, when Newcastle won 2-0 in August.
Playing 163 minutes by this stage of the season obviously wasn’t in the plans of the former La Liga and Champions League competitor but he has taken it positively.
Injuries and the form of others has kept him out of the team but Jesus Gamez hopes that the decent display at Reading is the start of better personal times at Newcastle.
He says he is ‘really looking forward to finding myself again, to finding my feelings again, helping out the team’.
Jesus Gamez says that ‘especially with regards to the fans’ he wishes he ‘could have offered more from the beginning’.
If Newcastle are promoted, it will be interested to see how Rafa Benitez views his countryman and whether he puts a value on Gamez’ experience if making the step up.
Jesus Gamez speaking to the Match Programme ahead of the Fulham match:
“After two very long injuries, I’m really looking forward to finding myself again, to finding my feelings again, helping out the team again after those two long injuries that affected me.
“And especially with regards to the fans, because I wish I could have offered more from the beginning.
“I wish I could have been more involved right from the beginning, but these are things that happen in football, and I will have to try and get more involved as soon as possible now.
“I am professional and what I really enjoy is being on the pitch, showing the reasons why the club puts so much confidence, so much trust in me. That’s where I belong.
“As soon as I have the chance, I’m going to try and take that chance to make it into the team, to help the team, because that’s what matters most at the end of the day.”