By Will Butcher
Christian Atsu has revealed how he managed to overcome his injury-ridden reputation to earn a move to Newcastle this summer.
The on-loan Chelsea winger has experienced more than his fair share of injuries in just five years as a professional footballer, most recently suffering a stress fracture while on international duty with Ghana.
The injury, which occurred on his tibia, kept him out for four months last season while on loan at Bournemouth and was subsequently recalled in January by Chelsea.
In Newcastle’s official matchday programme, Atsu has revealed that a changed sleeping routine, an altered diet and a more professional outlook on his body has helped him overcome his injury nightmare.
“At Bournemouth, I had a lot of injuries,” Atsu told Newcastle’s programme. “I left in January to Malaga, and when I went there I had another injury again. It was so frustrating.
“So I tried to change how I eat, my sleep and everything. I think I’m more professional, and more focused on my body than before.
“I found out that sometimes it’s me, and I need to take good care of myself because it’s my body. My sleep, my diet, everything – I tried to change everything, and I think I’m getting better.”
Atsu is set to start for the Toon on Tuesday night against Preston in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, after featuring on the front of the matchday programme.
The former Porto star has made just two starts for Rafa Benitez’s side this season, as the Spaniard continues to implement a vigorous rotation policy at St. James’ Park.
Benitez, 56, will be hoping to secure his 15th win as Newcastle manager in just 25 league and cup encounters, and book a place in the quarter finals at the expense of Simon Grayson’s side.
In other Newcastle team news, this long-term absentee could be in line to start for the Toon after recovering from a knee injury.