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United can launch the rocket man

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The last time Newcastle fans were promised one of Graeme Souness' summer signings would be worth the wait once he was fully fit, they were not disappointed.

 

Emre wasted little time winning over the Gallowgate End and now Albert Luque is hoping to do likewise.

 

The last two months have been hugely frustrating not only for the fans and Souness, but also for Luque as he nursed the injured hamstring which has become something of a rite of passage for Newcastle players.

 

The Spanish attacker - the rocket man according to his manager - is set to start on the bench at Goodison Park tomorrow desperate to start repaying his £9.5m transfer fee.

 

 

"I've had a few difficult weeks due to the injury but now I'm ready to play again I am very eager to show the fans what I am made of," Luque said of his imminent return.

 

 

"I turned up obviously wanting to do well as quickly as possible in a new country so it was especially disappointing to get such a bad injury which spoiled the beginning of my new experience."

 

 

The former Deportivo La Coruña player pulled up 35 minutes into his second game in black-and-white, against Fulham in September.

 

 

Rather than trotting out the well-worn line about not setting his own transfer fee, the Spanish international is eager to take on the responsibility his hefty price tag carries.

 

 

"The club has invested heavily in my services but that sort of pressure gives me extra motivation," he said.

 

 

"Now I just want to get myself fully fit and playing again. Then I am sure things will be fine.

 

 

"The only way I can show I am worth it is on the pitch and I am determined to do so.

 

 

"I realise the price Newcastle paid for me is quite big in terms of world football but I faced a similar scenario a few years ago when I moved from Mallorca to Deportivo," he said of his £9m switch to the Riazor.

 

 

His new manager believes Luque will become a popular figure at St James's Park.

 

 

"Luque will be very good for us," Souness asserted. "Given time he will make an enormous impact at Newcastle.

 

 

"I see Luque as the type of player our crowd likes. He is good at set pieces and has a rocket in his boots. He will excite our supporters."

 

 

The most intriguing aspect of Luque's reintroduction will be to see what position he establishes himself in.

 

 

Initially, Luque seemed earmarked for a position on the left of a front three. But Michael Owen's signing and the subsequent switch to 4-4-2 could see him carve a niche as a striker or on either wing. Souness does not know what the future holds for him - and is unconcerned.

 

 

"He will be somewhere in our attacking formation," is as much as the Scot was prepared to say. "I am not trying to be smart but good players work it out for themselves.

 

 

"Luque may start on the left and move to the middle, then move out to the right, it all depends. He will have a licence to roam and cause problems for our opposition."

 

 

It is a licence Luque is happy to have.

 

 

"I can play as a second striker and on the left of midfield but I like to score goals so I prefer to play in as advanced a position as possible," he reasons. While Emre has wasted little time stamping his quality on the Premiership, Souness warned United's fans not to expect such instant results again.

 

 

"This season he will make an impact, but he needs a few games to get going," he said. "He'll need some time to get used to what English football's about, and get used to regular football again." With Roy Keane gone, Alan Shearer going and Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry possibly nearing the end of their Premiership careers, Souness believes he has found English football a new star - or rather his former Liverpool team-mate turned Spanish TV mogul Michael Robinson has helped find one for him.

 

 

"I am a big fan of Latin football players," said former Sampdoria midfielder Souness.

 

 

"Some have a problem leaving their country. Argentine players generally only seem to do well in countries like Italy and Spain.

 

 

"But Spanish players like Jose Antonio Reyes and the Liverpool players have come on in recent years and I have a very dear friend whose opinion I rate highly on Spanish football. Michael Robinson knows a lot more about Spanish players than I do.

 

 

"He also knows about their characters and Albert would appear to be an extremely solid character."

 

 

If Luque can live up to the glowing references of the former Anfield pair may be the wait will be worthwhile after all.

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