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By ESPN Staff

Keegan backs Gutierrez to match Ginola at Toon

Kevin Keegan is confident summer signing Jonas Gutierrez can make as big an impact on Tyneside as Newcastle legend David Ginola.

The enigmatic Frenchman played a key role in the Magpies' meteoric rise to within touching distance of the league title during the manager's first spell in charge at St James' Park.

Ginola's thrilling brand of attacking play in a team dubbed 'the Entertainers' earned him a place in the hearts of the Geordie faithful.

Just two games into his career on Tyneside, Argentina international Jonas has shown the same progressive instincts while at the same time demonstrating a willingness to put in the hard graft in his own half of the field to endear himself further to the fans.

Keegan, whose recruitment drive is ongoing, is delighted with his capture from Real Mallorca, and believes he can be just as popular as Ginola.

He said: 'He is a different player, so he will establish himself in a different way.

'Jonas has got it in him to be thought of every bit as much as David Ginola, but in a different way, definitely.

'He has got so many assets. He is not just one thing or two things, he has got loads more.'

Jonas announced himself with a high-octane display in the 1-1 opening weekend draw at Manchester United, and although he found himself a marked man against Bolton on Saturday, there was a sense of anticipation inside the stadium whenever he was on the ball.

Keegan said: 'I said a few weeks ago, I think the fans are really going to take to him.

'But I think the biggest thing they will like about his performance at Old Trafford wasn't the long runs and the fact that he went past people and kept the ball well, it will just be the fact that it meant so much for him to play football and be in a team that wasn't going to be beaten.'

Keegan will hope for more of the same from the South American as Newcastle open their Carling Cup campaign with a tough second-round trip to Coventry tonight.

However, the loss of striker Obafemi Martins to a groin injury, with Damien Duff also struggling with a knee problem, has left the manager with few options.

The Magpies, who have not won a major trophy since 1969 and claimed their last domestic prize 14 years earlier, will once again invest much hope in the domestic cup competitions.

But as Keegan considered how best to tackle the game, he admitted wholesale changes were unlikely.

He said to the listening press: 'If I rest players, I will have to call some of you guys in - and looking at you, I think that would be a big mistake.

'We want to go there and give a good account of ourselves and try to win the game.'


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