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Cabaye IS Newcastle's Wayne Rooney

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew stated over the weekend that midfielder Yohan Cabaye is as important to the club as Wayne Rooney is to Manchester United.

Now initially many were prepared to question Pardew over his comparison to Rooney, although he wasn't trying to compare them as players - more their roles at their respective clubs. And there's no doubt that Cabaye is important to Newcastle if they are going to have a successful season.

Losing Cabaye in the transfer window would have been disastrous for the club, and he had reportedly gone on strike in order to secure a move through to Arsenal.

Newcastle were determined to keep him, however, and he returned to the fold with a mixed reception, but relations with the fans have improved after some gutsy performances and especially as he has now apologised for his actions.

In two seasons with Newcastle,  Cabaye has scored 10 Premier League goals, and had 8 assists - second to Hatem Ben Arfa in midfield.

Goals and assists are only part of his game, however, as Cabaye provides a presence in the middle of the park that can break up play - and he isn't afraid to tackle either; indeed, the defensive side of his game is very impressive.

Pardew is correct when he says that keeping Cabaye could be Newcastle's signing of the summer. Cabaye may have not won the fans full respect back yet, but the omens look good and Toon fans are likely to embrace him once again if he keeps delivering.

images: © StartAgain, © stephendgardner

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