When asked if Newcastle are now seeing the ‘real Mohamed Diame’, the player himself says ‘they had to’, the obvious insinuation being that he believed he’d be out of the team otherwise.

A decent performance and goal against Hull and an excellent, arguably man of the match, display at home to Birmingham have certainly encouraged Newcastle fans that there may be significantly better to come from a player who scored 10 goals from midfield last season when Hull were promoted – and has spent all of his previous time in England playing in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez said before the Birmingham match that he was intending to buy a player for a ‘certain position’ in January, with the consensus amongst fans that it was the role behind Dwight Gayle.

What Mohamed Diame produced against Birmingham was in a different class to anything we had previously seen from either Mohamed Diame or Ayoze Perez in that pivotal position.

Diame now has another handful of games, starting with Wigan, to convince Rafa Benitez that he is the man for the job, before he heads off to the finals of the African Cup of Nations.

Mohamed Diame speaking to the official club website:

“After the game against Nottingham it was important to react. We did well (against Birmingham) and the spirit of the team was amazing, we put them under pressure from the beginning.

“As I had said, I needed to play more games like this (v Birmingham).

“That is why Newcastle signed me – I want to do well for this club.”

‘Are people seeing the real Mohamed Diame now?’

“Yes, they had to, because it (Championship) is a massive league, a massive challenge for me.

“We have a massive squad and I have to be on the (same) level of the squad.

“Difficult game (at Wigan), as every single one is – but we just have to have good pressure and dictate the game.”