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24/11/2003

Nicos a model pro - Robson

Nicos a model pro - Robson

Sir Bobby Robson has told his young players to take a leaf out of the book of his veteran central defender Nicos Dabizas.

The Greek international has not figured in a Newcastle United first-team game since he came on as an 86th-minute substitute for Andy Griffin in the 3-0 win against Leeds United at Elland Road in February.

And he has not started a game since Jermaine Jenas scored that dramatic last-minute winner over Spurs at White Hart Lane on January 29.

However, Robson told me today: "Nicos Dabizas is captain of his country and he behaves professionally at all times. He never says a word out of turn and is never late for training.

"And not only that but he asks to play in the Reserves so he can keep fit.

"We have other good pros at the club in the likes of Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Shay Given and Steve Harper and I often use them as examples to the younger players.

"But watching Dabizas play for our Reserves on Monday night really impressed me and the rest of the coaching staff.

"Nicos doesn't make any noises or ripple any waves, and he never complains even though he is not in our first-team.

"And when he does play for the Reserves he gives it all he's got. I would like to see some of the younger players do what he does."

The 30-year-old Dabizas has taken a back seat at St James' Park ever since the club placed him on the transfer list in the summer.

Obviously his best days as a United player are behind him, but when he does leave St James' Park he will go with the best wishes of everyone at the club.

He was a Kenny Dalglish signing in March 1998 and the 2 million United paid to Olympiakos for him has proved to be a real bargain.

Whatever does happen to Dabizas in the immediate future, he still has the Euro finals in Portugal to look forward to next summer with his country.


The Evening Chronicle

 

232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.