Moussa Sissoko says Newcastle's French force is not an issue for squad
Moussa Sissoko believes the sizeable French contingent at Newcastle United is not an issue within the squad.
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey
Last Updated: 14/03/13 9:09am
Sissoko joined Newcastle in January from Toulouse and has made a big impact in the Premier League since making the move.
More than a dozen French speakers can now be found in the Newcastle dressing room after five new arrivals in the January transfer window, but Sissoko is adamant that this is not causing any friction.
"I think for Newcastle it is useful, not a problem, that we have so many French players here," he told the Daily Mirror.
"I know before they signed us they tried to see how we were in real life - as people.
"They checked us out and found we didn't have any major problems. I know all the lads here are nice guys. We do not have any major issues.
"From a football perspective, all five French signings bring something new to the team. We want people to think Newcastle were right in signing us, and that we were right in coming to Newcastle."
Sissoko was linked with a host of clubs before joining Newcastle and he is delighted with his choice.
He added: "Last year, I had a fantastic season, which did not go unnoticed.
"There is fantastic potential here at Newcastle with the quality of players and that gave me the appetite to come here. The manager also showed me how much he wanted me to come here.
"The position was not ideal in the first half of the season. I thought the form would get better with the injuries clearing up and the new signings.
"As you can see, the team is now playing better. We can get up the league and go far in the Europa League."
Sissoko has been likened to French great Patrick Vieira, who remains one of the Premier League's finest ever imports, and he is a hero to the former Toulouse man.
"Patrick Vieira is my inspiration," he said.
"He played in the same position as me and we have a similar profile. Also someone like Mahamadou Diarra, who plays for Fulham - the same position, great footballers."
Sissoko is already being heralded as a 'star' for Newcastle, but he is not sure about this tag just yet.
"People say I am a big star now, but I do not consider myself a star. They signed me for my skills and to add to the team, not to be a 'star'," he said.
"In terms of work, football, I try to be serious. It is a serious job on the pitch.
"There have been careers in the past ruined by not being serious enough. It is important to be serious on the pitch, but off it to clear my head and relax and enjoy myself.
"Away from the training ground, I like to laugh, go out with friends and, when not playing, enjoy a party or two. But I am quite reserved, in all truth perhaps a little shy. But I like to laugh and show joie de vivre.
"When I was young, people in my family either played football or loved football. We used to watch a lot of football and I always wanted to get out there to practice. I could not wait for school to finish!
"One day (aged 13) I was told that maybe I had talent to become a professional. At that moment I had to decide to go for it and try and be signed for a club.
"Toulouse came along with an opportunity. The coach told me I had potential to have a great career. I put everything, all my work into having this career.
"I spent some great seasons with Toulouse and now I have come to Newcastle a massive club where I hope I can continue to progress onwards and upwards."