The Argentine midfielder could make his first Premier League appearance since overcoming testicular cancer on the weekend.
It was hard but I never lost faith. Big step can be this weekend, so happy to be in the squad again. Always looking fordward.— jonas gutierrez (@elgalgojonas) February 26, 2015
Newcastle United’s Jonas Gutierrez has taken to Twitter to express his delight as he nears his long-awaited first-team return.
Gutierrez, 31, has been building fitness with Newcastle's Under-21s since returning to the North East in the winter after being given the all-clear from testicular cancer, scoring and adding an assist in two 90-minute run outs.
The Argentine winger, who hasn’t appeared for the club since October 2013 after spending the second half of last season on loan at Norwich, appears all but set to leave the club when his contract expires in the summer, but has declared himself fit and eager to return to the first-team for the final months of the campaign.
However, the fan favourite hinted earlier this week that rumoured clause in his contract, which would entitle him to a new deal after a set amount of appearances, was preventing him from making his comeback, telling the Chronicle: “I am available as of a few weeks ago – I have a situation in my contract and things like that which mean that I am not sure if I’m going to get the opportunity to play.
“I want to but I know other things have to happen to be back. I have got to work hard and be ready then if the situation changes I will do my best to get my opportunity.”
However, head coach John Carver has now revealed that Gutierrez is in the squad for the weekend’s visit of Aston Villa, and could feature from the bench at some point.
"I'm going to bring Jonas Gutierrez into the squad, and there's a possibility he could be on the bench this weekend,” he told Sky Sports.
"That's a huge lift for him, and for everyone else around the club, and certainly for the fans because I know how much they like him. I'm sure they'll give him a good reception."
On the contract reports, Carver added: "My situation with Jonas is that if I need to use him, I will definitely use him. I know there have been rumours about the board picking him, or this one picking him and that, but I make the football decisions and I will pick him when I think the time is right."
Gutierrez has established himself as a firm fan favourite with the Newcastle faithful since arriving from Real Mallorca in 2008, scoring 11 goals in 194 total appearances, while helping the club back to the top-flight following their 2009 relegation.
He had looked set for a return to former club Velez Sarsfield earlier this month, per the Guardian, but, with a last-minute move breaking down before Argentina’s transfer deadline, the 22-times capped midfielder now has the chance to earn a final farewell at St James’ Park.