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Jan 6, 2012

Frustrated Smith pondering Toon exit

Alan Smith has expressed an interest in joining Neil Warnock's Queens Park Rangers, suggesting his chances of first-team football at Newcastle are limited on account of outside forces influencing manager Alan Pardew.

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Smith is in the final year of his contract, earning a reported £60,000 a week, but has not started in over 12 months despite claiming he has "never felt fitter".

The former Manchester United man claims his relationship with Pardew is strong, but is frustrated by being restricted to a "cheerleader" role and inferred that the Newcastle boss is not in sole charge.

In an interview with The Sun, Smith said: "People say 'why don't you move on?' But whenever I've spoken to the boss he's never told me he wants me to leave.

"I knocked on Alex Ferguson's door after coming back from breaking a leg. I told him I was ready to face Roma and started and scored in a 7-1 Champions League win.

"I've done the same to Alan Pardew. It worked with Sir Alex but it hasn't here but at [Manchester] United there's only one boss.

"The manager doesn't blank me, he talks to me all the time, maybe even about stuff he shouldn't. We discuss different styles and how we are playing, he knows I have experience and can help out.

"Whenever I've knocked on the boss' door to ask why I'm not playing he says 'I think you understand football enough to know why'. People can draw their own conclusions on what he means by that. I'm not injured and I'm fitter and hungrier to play than ever.

"I've never been told directly Newcastle want rid of me. I could have gone out on loan but the manager didn't want me to. If he said he wanted me to go I'd respect that but he hasn't. It's weird.

"He says he wants me around and even offered me a coaching role if I pack in playing but I'm too young for that."

Smith feels he can still cut it at the highest level and with the transfer window open, has made a plea for a club to hand him a chance.

"If I'm not staying at Newcastle, I want to find a club where I can make a difference, like a QPR where I could give them a bit of a push forward," he said. "I can still do a good job in the Premier League or the Championship - I just need that chance.

"You want to prove to people and to yourself that you are still a good player. I've got 19 England caps, not one or two, so I must be able to play a bit. But the longer it goes on, you lose your identity. I'm not happy just to stay and pick up my wages - it's not what I'm about. I put it in every week in training.

"I can talk to other clubs with my contract being up and, if I have to go, wages won't come into consideration."


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