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Scottish Mag

Duff eyes Champions League

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DAMIEN Duff is hoping soon to be back in the Champions League – with Newcastle United.


The £5m midfielder – in line to make his debut this afternoon against PSV Eindhoven at St James's Park – is an experienced European campaigner from his Chelsea days.


Duff has three Champions League campaigns under his belt from his time at Stamford Bridge, and the 27-year-old believes Newcastle have what it takes to return to the competition after an absence of several seasons. But in the meantime Duff is determined to play his part in guiding his new team into the UEFA Cup proper, with Glenn Roeder's men facing a two-legged qualifier against Latvian side Ventspils next month.


Duff said: "I've had a taste of the Champions League over the past couple of years.


"Newcastle were in the Champions League four years ago. I didn't get to any of the teams then, but I can only imagine what the atmosphere was like. "Hopefully we'll get back there soon." He added: "But Europe's Europe, and the UEFA Cup's still massive. "There's a group stage as well, and I can't wait to play in it."


United were last in the Champions League in 2002-03, when they reached the second knockout stage under Sir Bobby Robson.


Duff is a close friend of new team-mates Shay Given and Stephen Carr, who he knows from the Republic of Ireland set-up.And their presence in the St James's Park dressing room helped make his mind up on a move to Tyneside.


"Shay's a great lad, and one of my best mates in the Irish team, along with Carrsy," said Duff."They're two great players, and there's a great bunch of lads here. I'm looking forward to working with them."

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I know that it's possibly just "I need to win fns over" stuff, but I'm really liking the guy.



despite my cynicism

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