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Press article:

Unbeaten skipper is worried about place - 26/11/2004

Unbeaten skipper is worried about place
It's a great honour to deputise for Al
   Shay Given
   Ronnie Johnsen
   Alan Shearer



Robbie elliott maintained his 100% record as Newcastle United skipper but admitted he was sweating on his place for Sunday's game with Everton at St James' Park.

The 30-year-old became the first captain to lead United to a victory in France in the 4-0 drubbing of Sochaux in the UEFA Cup tie.

It came after he wore the skipper's armband in the Carling Cup victory over Norwich last month. Elliott certainly led by example last night, especially in the first half when he put in some fantastic tackles.

But Elliott knows that Ronny Johnsen is available again this weekend, as the Norwegian, who is ineligible for the UEFA Cup at this stage, has recovered from a groin injury.

Elliott said: "Ronny will be fit for Sunday, but we've kept another clean sheet against Sochaux, the second in successive matches.

"So it's a tough decision for the manager, and it has not always been the case that you can say that about the back four.

"We have only conceded one goal in five European games this season, which is a bit different to the Premiership, but none of us can put our fingers on it. If we could then we'd have sorted it out.

"I think the fact we haven't always had a steady back four may be a factor. The old Arsenal sides always had that.

"Also, in the Premiership you're coming up against world-class performers week in, week out and if you give them a chance then, more often than not, they will score.

"I thought we did OK against Sochaux, but I still think we can defend better as a 10 in front of Shay Given."

Being United skipper has really put the icing on the cake of an amazing comeback season for the Geordie defender.

He added: " Being made captain is something I find hard to put into words.

"It means so much to put that armband on. For Alan Shearer to have that honour every week - well, now you know why he goes out and plays the way he does!

"I've had two games as captain this season, and I've really enjoyed it. Two games, two wins, six goals scored and none conceded is not a bad record.

"Beating Sochaux was a fantastic performance. They came at us early on, but I think our second goal effectively killed the game.

"The game with Sporting Lisbon at St James' will decide who tops the group and I think that was always going to be the case.

"We played them in pre-season but we're a better side now and we'll be up for their visit."

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