Solano works out the physical side - 11/04/2003
By his own admission, Nolberto Solano was a weak link in the Newcastle
United team when he began life as a Premiership midfielder five years
ago, but he has since risen in stature and status on Tyneside.
"The Peruvian international has met the challenge of English football
by working on his fitness, physique and work-rate and allying them to
the finesse and dead-ball skills which have made him a potent part of
Sir Bobby Robson's attacking side.
"Things have worked out better than I could have expected when I
arrived in Newcastle," said Solano. "When I first came here, it was
too hard. I found talent alone was not enough, you must also use your
body. When you play it's like being a gladiator. People want to see
you come out and fight.
"I'm tougher than when I first arrived. I was very thin. I'm not like
Alan Shearer now, but I'm much stronger thanks to the gym and the
different training methods. It's hard, but you need to do more to keep
up with Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy, who are very fast."
Solano, signed for stlg2.5 million from Boca Juniors in 1998, has
benefited from working under Robson, who added: "He somehow seemed to
lose some condition but we've worked on that. We've also left him out
of the team, which is good therapy. Players don't think so at the
time, but I know otherwise."
Solano will be hoping to get Robson's call for second-placed
Manchester United's visit to St James' Park tomorrow, when defeat
would end the title pursuit of third-placed Newcastle.
"Everyone loves playing against Manchester United and everyone wants
to play in those games," Solano added. "I have many happy memories of
being in England but one of the most special was my goal against Man
United four years ago. I scored with a free-kick against the best
goalkeeper in the world, Peter Schmeichel, and against the best club
in the world, but lost 2-1. This game is crucial and we need to win."
Rob Stewart, 'The Telegraph'
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