Newman Hoping To Become A New Man

Last updated : 21 July 2003 By Rob Cooper
Newman, who turns 33 next month, is hoping to put in some impressive pre-season displays in order to earn a regular place in Alan Pardew's starting line-up.

The former Millwall man signed a new one-year contract earlier this month and now vows to tie down the first team berth that was intermittent at best last season.

With the Royals playing Gavle and Borlange in Sweden this week, Ricky believes he has the perfect opportunity to throw his hat into the ring.

"I want to use this trip to put my case forward for a starting spot in the side," admitted the Guildford born player, speaking to

"Over the week I'll try and get my fitness levels up and hopefully play at least a game and a half."

At times last year Newman's problem perhaps was his versatility, for the ability to play just about anywhere can be both a blessing and a curse.

Although most regularly used in defensive midfield, as he was moved around from week-to-week he never really got the chance to make any position his own. With so many other players playing well Newman was so often the perpheral, disposable, figure of the team.

The hardman of the Reading team has been participating in some taxing training sessions with the rest of the squad since the Royals arrived in Sweden on Friday. Two games against moderate opposition later this week will come as some relief to the hard-worked players.

However, that is not to suggest the tour has been without its fun moments thus far, as table tennis and go-karting tournaments have been organised in order to aid team building ahead of the new campaign.