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Jul 7, 2011

Demba Ba relishing Toon challenge

Newcastle United's new signing Demba Ba believes the knockbacks he has suffered in the English game have given him the mental strength to be a success at St James's Park.

• Ranger open to Toon exit
• 'Nolan wasn't worth long deal'
• Toon blog: Breaking through the ranks

Ba was rejected by Barnsley and Watford earlier in his career and failed a medical at Stoke last season before he eventually joined West Ham.

The Paris-born striker was then relegated from the Premier League with the Hammers, despite scoring seven goals in 10 starts, but now has another chance to prove himself in the top flight.

"My best quality is that, mentally, I am very strong. If you are a good, strong player, you can thrive on pressure and expectation and rise to the challenge," Ba told the Daily Mirror.

"When I was young and looking for a club, I went to Watford for a couple of months and I learned a hell of a lot. I hoped to get a contract, but it didn't work out. I was upset but I didn't want to give up. I had always wanted to play in English football.

"I went to Swansea and Barnsley looking again. I did my best. I tried to make those clubs take me but it didn't work out, and after a few months I had to go back to France."

"I never gave up. It helps that I have had to work hard to get where I am now, at this great club. I have had setbacks. Everything happens in life for a reason, good and bad.

"It has worked out well for me to think I was turned down by Swansea and Barnsley and now I am playing for a club as big as Newcastle!"

Ba signed a three-year deal with Newcastle after joining on a free transfer in June and was described by former Toon player Habib Beye as "one of Europe's top strikers".

The 26-year-old has set himself the target of hitting double figures again this season and described his new team-mates as "some cool dudes".

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