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Family comes first for David

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DAVID Rozehnal could add to Sam Allardyce’s selection problems this afternoon, writes STUART RAYNER.


The Newcastle United manager is already getting used to idea that choosing a team can often be a case of counting how many players are fit to leave the physio room. But today’s Premier League encounter with Manchester City could be further complicated by the imminent arrival of Rozehnal’s first child.


Petra Rozehnal is due to give birth to a baby boy on Monday. But if it comes today, her husband David will rush to her bedside rather than lining up for the Magpies at Eastlands.


The 27-year-old Czech Republic international (pictured above right) will be putting his family first if he is forced to choose, but would rather it did not come to that. Like his compatriot, Pavel Srnicek, Rozehnal has embraced the Newcastle culture and is pleased his son will be born in the city.


“I’m hoping if the baby’s born early it’s on Sunday instead,” he said. “I’m settled with my football and also my private life, which is important. Our baby’s due soon and I’m happy. The most important thing is my wife stays here to have the baby and hopefully I’ll be there with her and our boy. We’re really looking forward to it. Am I pleased he’s going to be a Geordie? Yes.


“I’ve never met Pavel personally, but I heard the story about his T-shirt (the popular goalkeeper once wore a T-shirt saying ‘Pavel is a Geordie’ after a game) and what a great job he did here. I know how popular he was, it was good for him and Czech football (to move to United) and since then Czech players seem to have a good reputation in this country.” Rozehnal was one of nine summer signings and has settled in more quickly than most, establishing himself as the Magpies’ first-choice centre-back. The former Paris-Saint Germain, FC Bruges and Sigma Olomouc defender has no hesitation in crediting Allardyce for the part he has played.


“When I went to Paris and Bruges the same happened in that I settled in well, I don’t know what the secret is,” he said. “I don’t what I did differently to other players. I like to work hard and play in the first team and not sit on the bench. I expected Sam to give me a chance and that’s what he’s done, then it was up to me to show everybody what I can do. Hopefully I’ve done that to the coach, my team-mates and everyone.


“It’s important my wife came here with me, we found a home as soon as possible and for the coach to want to have me here. He believed in me, which is good. We’re (living) close to the (city) centre but at the moment we don’t have a lot of time to walk around and explore. After the birth maybe we will do and see more. I seem to get recognised a bit more as time goes on and people come up to chat, not always about football. They ask for an autograph. I never had it when I played in Czech Republic, in Bruges there was a bit more interest and in Paris a little bit more. When it’s not too much, like here, it’s okay.”


Newcastle’s problems this week are more at the other end, with Michael Owen sidelined by a groin injury, Shola Ameobi out with a groin injury and Mark Viduka facing a late fitness test on his foot. While losing the only Magpies defender to have started every league game this season would obviously be a blow, Allardyce at least has options.


“Caçapa might just make it, he’s not completely ruled out,” he said. “We’ve got Abdoulaye Faye who can play there and (Steven) Taylor. But I don’t want to disrupt the side too much because we want to try and keep the momentum going.”


Meanwhile, Allardyce is considering recalling Shay Given for his first League appearance of the season today. Steve Harper has kept the Irishman out of the side since his recovery from a groin strain with some excellent displays , but Given’s magnificent performance against Arsenal in the Carling Cup could be enough to see him reinstated as Newcastle’s first-choice goalkeeper at the City of Manchester Stadium.


I expected Sam to give me a chance, then it was up to me to show everybody what I can do

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