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Jenas: I want to fight for my spot

Scottish Mag

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Jermaine Jenas linked up with Sven-Göran Eriksson's England squad yesterday intent on putting a troubled start to the season behind him and restoring his reputation for club and country.


The former Nottingham Forest midfielder has been the subject of furious transfer speculation this summer and has admitted to team mates and his manager that he felt unsettled on Tyneside during the close-season.


Sunday's dismissal at Highbury completed a miserable month for Jenas but the subsequent withdrawal of that red card - the Football Association downgraded the player's punishment to a yellow yesterday - and an encouraging reception from the Magpies' travelling fans encouraged the Tottenham target.


Now the former PFA Young Player of the Year has resolved to retain his place at the heart of Newcastle's midfield against West Ham United on Saturday and recapture the form which propelled him into Eriksson's squad as a promising teenager.


Jenas has stayed tight-lipped on his immediate future and there was renewed speculation that he had kicked his last ball for the Magpies on Sunday following his 32nd-minute dismissal. Spurs are reported to be offering £5m plus Robbie Keane for Sir Bobby Robson's signing but the Newcastle youngster has told England colleagues he is prepared to fight for his place at St James's Park.


A three-match suspension would have hampered that ambition but Jenas is free to face the Hammers this weekend after Sunday's referee Steve Bennett performed an unlikely U-turn and admitted a high profile mistake.


"The Football Association can confirm that Jermaine Jenas's dismissal during the Arsenal versus Newcastle United match has been reduced to a caution," explained a Soho Square spokesman yesterday.


"Having reviewed a video of the incident, match referee Steve Bennett requested that the red card be downgraded to a yellow card.


"In accordance with FA rules, the matter was considered by a disciplinary commission which confirmed the decision. Jenas will therefore not serve any suspension."


Although Newcastle had hoped for justice after Jenas' clumsy tackle on Gilberto was initially deemed overly aggressive, the club was clearly delighted with Bennett's decision.


"Mr Bennett has been in touch via letter with our manager, Graeme Souness, Jermaine Jenas and the rest of the squad to apologise for his error of judgment during Sunday's game against Arsenal," explained a club statement on United's website.


Souness, in keeping with his decision to stay silent on the original incident, was unavailable for comment. But if the Scot feels vindicated by the FA's judgment then he will still feel aggrieved that an official's error of judgement inevitably cost his team a share of the spoils against Arsene Wenger's former champions.


What will encourage players, managers and chairmen everywhere is the speed with which the game's governing body dealt with one of the weekend's biggest and most controversial talking points.


And FA chief executive Brian Barwick added: "A headline story has been dealt with quickly and fairly.


"This was the first weekend of the season and that was a high profile incident that was dealt with by Monday lunchtime. Hopefully that's a positive reaction.


"At the start of any season there will be some incidents where you can say that was right or wrong.


"We're in the settling-in process and I think what is indicative of that is the Jenas card being reduced."

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Talk of Spurs cashing in on Kanoute today (think they're getting £6m for him?) so that they can buy Jenas.


Selling club...us?


According to the Beeb, he's gone to Sevilla for £4.4million


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