Best - I can be Toon talisman

Striker eager to fill void left by Carroll's January departure

Last Updated: 12/09/11 9:17am

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Leon Best says he is the man to lead the line for Newcastle this season.

Fans have made their feelings clear on the Magpies failing to spend big on a striker to replace Andy Carroll who joined Liverpool in January, but Best feels he can fill the void.

Best has spent much of his first 18 months on Tyneside sidelined with injury, but the former Coventry player is now determined to make his mark for club and country, having last played for the Republic of Ireland in the 2-0 defeat by Brazil in 2010.

The Nottingham-born forward scored both of Newcastle's goals against Fulham to take his tally to eight in 10 Premier League starts for the club.

Best said: "I have not played that many Premier League games, but it's good for me because the games I have played in, I have scored in.

"It's a good ratio for me and I intend keeping up that goals-to-game ratio the same.

"I have had no injuries, touch wood, and got some goals as well, so I am very confident."

Replacements

A host of strikers including Kevin Gamerio, Gervinho, Mevlut Erding, Modibo Maiga and Bryan Ruiz were all linked with Newcastle over the summer, but none of them joined the club.

Best, however, claims he was unfazed by the speculation and was concentrating on being ready to take his chance once he got it.

He added: "You have just got to get on with it, that's part of football.

"Whoever is coming to the club, they are to make the club better and make the team stronger."

Ireland

The striker faces a challenge to convince Giovanni Trapattoni to recall him to the Ireland team.

West Brom duo Shane Long and Simon Cox have emerged as back-up to Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle, pushing Best further down the pecking order.

He remains keen though to add to his seven caps for his adopted nation.

"If I keep scoring, even if the manager has forgotten about me, he's going to see me in the paper and when he sees it hopefully he remembers who I am.

"I don't know why I haven't been called up. It's the same thing with Ireland - I have never really been given a run, a good chance to prove that I am an international, as well as a Premier League player.

"But it will all come. If I do well for Newcastle and continue to score and play well and prove that I am a Premier League striker, then I should be given a chance.

"It's a funny game because when I was in my lows at Coventry I got a call up out of nowhere.

"Now I'm doing well at Newcastle, but I'm not playing international football."

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