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Scottish Mag

Souness salutes his pair of aces

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He rates Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele as two of world football's finest but, as Graeme Souness prepares his side to face Chelsea's dynamic duo, the Newcastle boss is confident his own prized pair can enjoy midfield supremacy this afternoon.

 

The £10.3m Souness spent to sign Emre from Inter Milan and snatch Scott Parker from Stamford Bridge this summer has proved to be a shrewd investment - with the talented 25-year-olds having formed a promising partnership with the potential to become one of United's best in recent times.

 

Emre and Parker will be determined to give good accounts of themselves in West London - with the former keen to put the disappointment of Turkey's World Cup failure behind him and the latter anxious to prove Jose Mourinho was wrong to disregard his capabilities.

 

But Souness believes the chance to outshine Lampard and Makelele is the greatest motivation of all for two players who have made encouraging starts to their careers at St James's Park.

 

"Makelele has been an outstanding performer on the international stage for a long time, the last six or seven years, while Frank Lampard has shown himself to be a world-class midfielder in the last couple of seasons," said the Magpies boss, whose team's improvement has coincided with Emre's return from the treatment room.

 

"We have got two young players who are not as well known but who we believe have got outstanding qualities. If you have anything about you, you want to be playing against the best every week.

 

 

"Now we have a chance to do that. We will come up against two midfield players who are regarded as being among the best in the world at Chelsea and I would like to think that Scott and Emre will relish the challenge."

 

 

Parker knows all about Chelsea's midfield strength having failed to win regular football at Stamford Bridge following his £10m move from Charlton two years ago, and a player who started just 11 league games in a blue shirt will be determined to shine on his first return to his former club.

 

 

"I don't think Scott has anything to prove," said Souness, who has this week insisted that Parker has the qualities to become an England regular and a future United captain. "It has been well-documented how big the Chelsea squad is and how strong they are in that particular area. Scott certainly doesn't have anything to prove to me."

 

 

Since selling Parker to Newcastle, Mourinho has spent £25m to add Michael Essien to his midfield ranks from Lyon. But given some of Emre's recent performances, the Magpies boss is confident his side can compete in a competitive part of the field.

 

 

The former Galatasaray favourite met up with his club colleagues in London last night having spent Thursday in Istanbul following Turkey's controversial World Cup play-off clash against Switzerland.

 

 

"We let Emre stay in Istanbul and he flew to London on Friday afternoon," explained Souness. "There was no point in him flying back up to Newcastle and then down to London again so we just let him relax. He was in the gym in Istanbul on Thursday and again in London on Friday and he will be fine.

 

 

"It's a relief that Emre got through it okay - no-one likes to see the kind of things that went on after the Turkey game but he is fine. I spoke to him immediately after the game and he is okay."

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"It's a relief that Emre got through it okay - no-one likes to see the kind of things that went on after the Turkey game but he is fine. I spoke to him immediately after the game and he is okay."

58001[/snapback]

Hmmm.... I should hope so but many rumours seem to suggest otherwise. Edited by TheInspiration

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