Tiote: Derby atmosphere unforgettable

Newcastle United midfielder Cheik Tiote has revealed he was advised to join the Magpies by both Steve McClaren and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Ivory Coast international has established himself as a key player for Alan Pardew’s side since switching from FC Twente in the summer and scored his first goal for Newcastle in the spectacular 4-4 draw against Arsenal earlier this month.

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Tiote, who penned a new six-and-a-half-year contract with the Magpies on Friday, says in the March issue of FourFourTwo that advice from former Twente boss McClaren and ex-Ivory Coast coach Eriksson was enough to help him make the switch to Tyneside.

“As soon as I’d heard Newcastle United were interested, I was keen on joining. They’re a really big club so it was a great opportunity,” Tiote tells FourFourTwo.

“I spoke to Steve McClaren and Sven-Goran Eriksson about the move, and they both advised me to join, so that was enough for me.”

The midfielder has adapted to life in North-East England well and admits that one of the highlights of his time in the Premier League so far was playing in the Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland at St. James' Park, which the Magpies won 5-1.

“I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that before. It was one of those moments in your career you’ll never forget," he says.

“The fans are amazing; they live for the game up here. As for the weather, I knew how cold it was before I came here. I’m absolutely fine with it.”

Tiote also reveals that he supported Italian side Juventus as a child, but began following Chelsea after fellow countryman Didier Drogba joined the Blues from Marseille in 2004.

“I was a boyhood Juventus fan. Well, at least until Drogba joined Chelsea. After that, it was more Chelsea for me."

The full in-depth interview with Cheik Tiote can be found in the March issue of FourFourTwo – out now. The issue also features exclusive one-on-ones with Dimitar Berbatov, David Silva, Frank Lampard, Samir Nasri and Johnny Giles. Subscribe now!

By Vaishali Bhardwaj