Newcastle United fan favourite pays credit to 'incredible' support

By Russell Edge

Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino has said that he is thankful for the “incredible” support he has received after joining the club on a temporary deal.

The Spanish youngster is on a season-long loan from German giants Borussia Dortmund, and has already established himself as a key player in the starting XI on Tyneside.

Suspension to Jonjo Shelvey following the Magpies’ opening match handed the 21-year-old the opportunity to show fans what he could bring to the side, and he is now firmly a fan favourite with his confident showings in the middle of the park.

He says the support from the stands has been a huge factor in him settling so well lat the club, and insists that it must continue if the club are to continue to succeed.

Speaking to the club for the match programme ahead of their clash with Stoke City on Saturday, the former Osasuna man said: “I love the way people are with the team, the way people support the team in the matches, it’s the perfect way.

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“The combination between the team and the crowd is incredible, and it has to be like this to improve.

“I received the love of the fans on social media and I’m so thankful for that.”

He also insists that while he has the technical quality to succeed in the Premier League, he is not afraid to demonstrate his physical attributes out on the pitch.

He told the club’s official programme, available on the official website: “You have to fight for the ball, defend, run.

“I love running. If I finish a match and I’m not exhausted, that means I haven’t given 100 per cent, and that would be wrong.

“It’s part of me, and it’s the way I understand football. You can be a really good player on the ball, but you have to compete yourself.”

Merino has played his part in a bright start for the Magpies, with Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Stoke their third successive victory.

That form has helped catapult Rafael Benitez’s side into fourth position in the Premier League, with their next match seeing them travel to Brighton next Sunday.

In other Newcastle United news, the boss has identified the key behind the Magpies’ success over Stoke.

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