Griffin eyes international spot
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A natural right back with the aggressive instincts of Danny Mills and showing a more rounded game like his other competitor for the slot - Gary Neville, Griffin has impressed since getting back into the side.
Newcastle's defensive frailties have been well documented, especially at the heart of the back four - but with Aaron Hughes being shifted to left back as Olivier Bernard appears not to have shaken off his summer blues, Griffin stepped into the right back role.
Since then The Magpies defence, save their farcical performance against Blackburn, have looked a more solid outfit and in fairness to the rearguard, it was goalkeeper Shay Given that paid for the game with Rovers with his place.
However, Griffin was a most unlikely match winner for the North Eastern club as he burst into the box after a clever free kick from Laurent Robert and attacked the byline. Despite appearing to take the ball too far, his cross-shot squirmed under the body of Gianluigi Buffon, off the goalkeeper's elbow and into the net.
The wicked deflection has been something observers have focussed upon, although the clever cross was destined for Nolberto Solano or Gary Speed, both of whom were waiting to pounce.
After a succession of injuries, Griffin returned to the side against Dynamo Kiev and has not looked back since.
Speaking about his claims for an England spot, Griffin said: "There aren't a lot of natural right backs in this country so there's got to be a chance for me.
"If I'm playing for Newcastle week in, week out and we're involved in the Champions League, I don't see why I can't press my claims.
"Lads like Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole, Jonathan Woodgate and Alan Smith, all of whom I played with at Under-21 level, have made the step up and shown the way for the rest of us."
Although Griffin's strike has been credited as an own goal to Buffon, Griffin added: "It's my goal and no-one's going to take it off me. Okay, there was a bit of luck involved but I don't score many.
"That's only my second for Newcastle and the last one was three years ago against Arsenal."