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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 2, 2007

US star Onyewu wants to prove Premier class

Oguchi Onyewu is determined to prove he is the man to solve Newcastle's lingering defensive problems.

The Magpies have been blighted for over a decade by a defensive record which many believe has limited their chances of ending a trophy drought which now extends to almost 38 years.

Successive managers have invested millions in the search for a firm foundation, but the injury-plagued Jonathan Woodgate apart, they have achieved limited success.

Onyewu's arrival on loan from Standard Liege this week represents the club's latest attempt to find a solution, and the 24-year-old United States international, who is in the squad for Saturday's Premiership trip to Fulham, is determined to make an impact.

He said: 'I understand that over the past couple of years, defence has been a question at Newcastle.

'I am happy to be signed in the hope that my level of play will be able to lift the defence a little bit.

'I am excited about the pressure that has been put on myself as well as the defence.

'Hopefully I will be able to perform well and get that opportunity to show we can turn it around.'

Onyewu is likely to have to remain patient with Titus Bramble having returned from injury for the 3-1 win over Aston Villa in midweek alongside Steven Taylor, perhaps Newcastle's most consistent central defender in recent times.

The Washington DC-born player is determined to win a permanent deal on Tyneside having finally got his move to the Premiership after being watched by several potential buyers, including Middlesbrough.

However, in the short-term, he is concentrating only on forcing his way into Roeder's plans.

He said: 'The terms of my transfer are not important right now. I am on the team to make an impact like any other player.

'Once I get that opportunity, we can start talking about other things. But right now, I am just excited to be part of the team.

'I hope to get some time on Saturday and take it from there.

'To play in the Premier League was always an aspiration for me as soon as I started my professional career.

'To be able to realise that dream is something special for me, especially starting off at a club like Newcastle.

'Apparently they have been keeping an eye on me for a while, and thankfully I was able to perform enough to impress them to get a shot here.

'Hopefully I will not let them down.'

Onyewu's arrival comes a matter of weeks after the announcement of David Beckham's impending departure from Real Madrid to Major League Soccer, and he is confident the former England captain can make a major impact on the other side of the Atlantic.

He said: 'The fact that any big-time international player enters the MLS is a big deal, especially a player of high profile like David Beckham.

'It is a big career move, financially as well as professionally. He will be able to help the MLS in terms of how people view the support on a professional level.

'Hopefully within the next couple of years, he will be able to raise the level of the MLS and raise the amount of people who are watching in the States.

'The fact that a big-time international signing will arrive in the MLS has opened people's eyes to perhaps watch it more to see what the hype is about.'

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