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By ESPN Staff

Newcastle United - Squad Profiles

Shay Given (goalkeeper)
Born: 20.04.76
Nationality: Irish

Given

The Republic of Ireland No.1 showed he is one of the best around with some great displays during the World Cup, and was voted the Premiership's top stopper last season.

Signed from Blackburn after failing to claim a regular first team spot at Ewood Park, Given was dropped for the later stages of the Champions League first phase. When the pressure is on, it is likely Sir Bobby Robson will go back to his first choice.


Group A: Barcelona | Bayer Leverkusen | Inter Milan | Newcastle
Group B: Ajax Amsterdam | Arsenal | AS Roma | Valencia
Group C: AC Milan | Borussia Dortmund | L Moscow | Real Madrid
Group D: Basle | Deportivo | Juventus | Manchester Utd

Steve Harper (goalkeeper)
Born: 14.03.75
Nationality: English

Drafted into the first team as Shay Given lost form midway through the first phase, Harper did a fine job for Newcastle.

A keeper who has devoted his entire career to the St James' Park club, he would doubtless walk into most other Premiership sides. Provides great competition for Given, and should keep the Irishman on his toes.

Andy O'Brien (defender)
Born: 29.06.79
Nationality: Irish

Few were aware of O'Brien's abilities when the Magpies paid Bradford City £2million for his services a couple of seasons ago - but he has more than proved his worth.

After playing well over 100 league games for the Bantams, he boasts plenty of experience for a relatively young player. Made the cut for Ireland's World Cup squad, but failed to make an appearance in the Far East.

Andy Griffin (defender)
Born: 17.03.79
Nationality: English

Signed from Stoke in 1998, Griffin has proved a shrewd acquisition for the club. A regular squad man who has featured in the sides of several Newcastle managers in recent seasons, he played in the 1999 FA Cup Final as Manchester United completed the second leg of their historic treble.

An important squad man at St.James' Park, he is one of the unsung heroes of the team and scored the famous winning goal against Juventus in the first phase .

Nikos Dabizas (defender)
Born: 03.08.73
Nationality: Greek

Dabizas

Dabizas is now an established player at Premiership level, and has shown fine form since moving from Olympiakos in 1998.

A regular scorer from the back, Dabizas is a big favourite with the St.James' Park faithful and a towering figure at the back. He is a rock around whom Sir Bobby Robson has built his defence.

Titus Bramble (defender)
Born: 06.09.81
Nationality: English

Emerged through the ranks at Ipswich, and it looked liely that he was an England centre-half in the making.

That may still be true, but he has struggled to find his feet since a £5million summer move from Portman Road. He did well in the Champions League clash with Juventus and was part of the Newcastle defence that kept a clean sheet on a wonderful night at St.James' Park. At the age of 21, he has time to find his best form.

Olivier Bernard (defender)
Born: 14.10.79
Nationality: French

Signed from Lyon on a free transfer in the summer of 2000, Bernard has been something of a fringe player in his first couple of seasons at Newcastle.

When he has been given his chance, he has shown a capacity to score important goals on his bursts forward. This term has been much more fruitful for the Frenchman, as he has established himself as an important member of the squad.

Robbie Elliott (defender)
Born: 25.12.73
Nationality: English

A Newcastle lad through and through, it broke his heart to leave his beloved club when he joined Bolton in the 1997/98 season.

Sir Bobby Robson made the popular move to bring him back to St.James' Park last year, and he played his part in clinching a Champions League spot. A determined performer, he has been capped by England at Under-21 level.

Nolberto Solano (midfielder)
Born: 12.12.74
Nationality: Peruvian

One of the stars of this Newcastle side, Solano is a threat breaking down the wing and always contributes his share of goals from midfield.

While he did not get on the score sheet in the first phase of the Champions League, his contribution to the team in an attacking sense cannot be underestimated. Signed from Boca Juniors in 1998, he is one of the best foreign players to have pulled on the famous black and white shirt.

Hugo Viana (midfielder)
Born: 15.01.83
Nationality: Portuguese

Newcastle hailed their capture of Viana as something of a coup, with reports suggesting he is one of the brightest young talents in European football.

He has started to prove as much with some great performances, and was a Champions League hero when he scored in the crucial first round game against Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Having cost £8.5million from Sporting Lisbon, he has a lot to live up to - but he can be a real star. Already a full international with Portugal.

Clarence Acuna (midfielder)
Born: 08.02.75
Nationality: Chilian

A full international with Chile, Acuna has become a central figure in Robson's plans. A £1million signing from Universidad de Chile, he has notched up an impressive total of appearances since.

Like most in the Newcastle midfield, Acuna has got himself on the scoresheet on a regular basis.

Gary Speed (midfielder)
Born: 08.09.69
Nationality: Welsh

One of the most consistent performers in the side, Speed has a fine record of scoring from the midfield. He won the championship with Leeds in 1992 before moving on to Everton for a couple of seasons.

The Welsh international is one of the rare success stories from Kenny Dalglish's days at the club, and has been enjoying a glorious run of success at international level under the coaching of Mark Hughes. Has been in typically energetic form for Newcastle this season.

Kieron Dyer (midfielder)
Born: 29.12.78
Nationality: English

Dyer

Dyer has been linked with a £20million-plus move to Manchester United, but this quicksilver wide man has stayed loyal to Newcastle. Were it not for his numerous injuries, he would doubtless have established himself as a regular in the England side by now, but that will come in the future.

With pace to spare, Dyer could help Newcastle into the knockout stages of the the Champions League. If he does that, the £6million they paid Ipswich for his services in 2000 will look like a real bargain.

Jermaine Jenas (midfielder)
Born: 18.02.83
Nationality: English

One of the brightest young stars in English football, Newcastle paid £5million to secure his services last season. Showing a huge amount of energy in midfield, he has the capacity to burst forward and make a decisive pass. What he lacks in experience, Jenas makes up for in desire. The future looks bright for this England Under-21 international.

Laurent Robert (midfielder)
Born: 25.05.75
Nationality: French

After plenty of speculation linking him with a host of clubs around Europe, Robert finally became Newcastle's when he completed a £9.5million move from Paris St Germain last summer.

With great pace and no little skill, he has established himself in the black and white shirt and scored some fine goals. At his best, he can be a frightening prospect for the opposition to face - but his lack of consistency can be frustrating.

Alan Shearer (forward)
Born: 13.08.70
Nationality: English

A record of 30 goals in 63 England appearances represents a fine international career that really hit the heights during Euro '96. After that tournament, Newcastle paid a British record £15million to take him from Blackburn, where he had won the Premiership title in 1995 - but injuries have reduced his threat somewhat in recent seasons.

Despite that, he enjoyed a renaissance last season and he has been in decent form in the Champions League this season. The most prolific English marksman of his generation.

Craig Bellamy (forward)
Born: 13.07.79
Nationality: Welsh

Bellamy

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Robson moved to sign this Welsh international from Coventry in summer 2001.

After impressing during his days at Norwich, Bellamy struggled to make his mark at Highfield Road and there were doubts over his abilities at the highest level. How wrong those doubters were - he has been a revelation under Robson's management. A lightning quick forward whose two goals against Feyenoord booked Newcastle's place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Shola Ameobi (forward)
Born: 12.10.81
Nationality: Nigerian

A youngster who has shown flashes of brilliance during fleeting appearances in Newcastle colours, the Nigerian's height means he should develop into a formidable opponent.

His ball skills and quick feet make him a threat, and he has been compared to Costa Rican striker Paulo Wanchope. An interesting alternative for Robson, Ameobi has been getting plenty of first team action this season.

Lomana Lua-Lua (forward)
Born: 28.12.80
Nationality: DR Congo

The Congo forward made his name in the lower reaches of English football at Colchester and took time to settle at a higher level, but once he started scoring there was no stopping him.

Famed for his acrobatics when he hits the net, he played in five Champions League first phase games. Scored twice in the Premiership against West Ham earlier this season.