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Jermaine Jenas talks about signing for Sir Bobby Robson and explains choice of top 3 classic PL matches

2 years ago

Jermaine Jenas arrived at St James Park in February 2002.

Newcastle United flying high in the Premier League at the time, Sir Bobby Robson and NUFC building on that momentum with the £5m mid-season buy.

Only six days after his 19th birthday, Jermaine Jenas made his first Newcastle United and Premier League start.

Asked to make his choice of top three Premier League classic matches, the former midfielder picks out that game.

What a tough introduction as well, Newcastle away at Sunderland.

Jermaine Jenas explaining to Gary Lineker just how good Sir Bobby Robson was for him and the intensity of that first NUFC start.

Newcastle United won 1-0 that day, Nikos Dabizas famously scoring the winner, whilst Shay Given was superb at the other end.

Jermaine Jenas speaking to Gary Lineker on MOTD:

“It is more of a feeling than being able to explain it in words, the security he [Sir Bobby Robson] gave me, of knowing I could go out and play how I wanted to play.

“The belief he had in me was remarkable.

“I’ll never forget getting called into Forest and not to wanting to leave at that time. There were three clubs interested and he [Sir Bobby Robson] was the one who rang. I got off the phone and said to my agent ‘I’ve got to go see him, I can’t wait to meet him’.

“Before the Sunderland game [his first Newcastle start] I was just so nervous. I thought I could deal with all the attention I was getting because of the transfer fee but it affected me and I couldn’t control a bag of cement. I was shocking.

“He walked up to me the Thursday before the game and said ‘by the way, you’re starting Saturday, so you best get your head around it’.

“I just thought ‘no manager in the world right now would do that’. Afterwards he gave me a big smile and said ‘I always knew you could do it’.

“Little things like that made him really special to me. He was a big loss to me and a lot of the lads when he got the sack.

“I was 19 in this game and had just moved to Newcastle. Having moved from Forest, did I understand how big this game was? Probably not. They probably protected me a bit. But as soon as I stepped out of that tunnel, I knew how big that game was.

“The roar you get when you come out for that game is unbelievable. For it to be my first game and be on the winning side and play well, it all worked out. It allowed us to think ‘if we can handle that, we can handle most things’.

“On this day, Shay Given really showed up. Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn threw everything at him, Kilbane had a couple of efforts on target, and Shay had the answer to everything.”

The three Jermaine Jenas classic Premier League games:

Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle (24 February 2002)

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham (29 October 2008)

Arsenal 2-4 Manchester United (1 February 2005)


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