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Monday, May 27, 2013
Haidara desperate to learn English

Kristan Heneage

Learning English has become the main priority of Newcastle's French contingent, according to Massadio Haidara.

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The former Nancy full-back arrived along with a quartet of his compatriots - Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko - in January as the Magpies looked to revamp an injury-hit squad.

After an explosive start for the new set of signings, that brought three wins from their first four games, their impact somewhat waned as the season progressed and the club were sucked back into a relegation fight.

With the new players forced to use a translator both on and off the pitch, fellow Frenchman Yohan Cabaye was understood to have held reservations about the effect such a situation was having on the rest of the squad.

However, Haidara has now spoken of his determination to learn English in order to settle in properly at St James' Park - a desire shared by his fellow January arrivals.

"I am going to the United States in the summer so will have no choice but to learn English," he told the Journal. "It will be good to keep learning English while I am on holiday in the summer. I will try to make sure I advance my English, I think it is very important to help me to settle in. The manager hasn't told us especially to go away and learn English, but I think he knows that it's important we understand English.

"There won't always be an interpreter there for us to translate so we need to learn the language to understand what is going on - whether that's on the pitch or in our life. We need to be able to speak English. That is a big thing for us this summer. I hope it will help to have a summer behind us."

With plenty being demanded from the group early on in their Newcastle careers, all five endured teething problems during their transition to life in the Premier League.

Now afforded a full pre-season schedule and the opportunity to ease themselves into the English top flight, Haidara is optimistic that life will be somewhat smoother.

"I hope it will be a bit easier for us than it was in January, when we had to get used to English football very quickly," he said. "Obviously it was up to me and the team to get used to it as quickly as we could, which was tough because there was already a squad and a team in place.

"It was always going to be difficult to come straight into that, especially in the Premier League. Now we have started to get used to it and how things work in England so it is up to us. We must continue to work and graft and move on from there."

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