Newcastle United's top 30 players - Number 21

Newcastle Utd - Gate

We continue our countdown of the greatest 30 players to have worn the famous black-and-white shirt of the Magpies.

Following club legend David Craig at number 22 in our countdown of the 30 greatest footballers to play for Newcastle is another David, who made a big impact on Tyneside despite spending just under three years in the North East.

More famous for his two spells with Leeds United, David Batty nevertheless became a crucial player in Kevin Keegan's entertaining title-challenging side of the mid-1990s, along with other stars already on our list such as David Ginola and Philippe Albert.

Batty arrived from Blackburn Rovers in February 1996 for £3.5 million after being a member, albeit an injured one, of Kenny Dalglish's Premier League-winning Rovers side in 1994-95.

Having made his name at Leeds United as a tenacious, battling midfielder in the centre of the pitch, the England international was to be a regular for the Magpies for the following two seasons.

After Newcastle finished as runners-up to Manchester United in 1996, Keegan was replaced as manager by Batty's former Blackburn boss Dalglish, and the Yorkshireman thrived under the Scot's rule.

The gritty tough-tackler was integral to the side which again finished in second place behind the Red Devils in Dalglish's first season, and also helped the Magpies reach the 1998 FA Cup final.

A typically upfront and honest man on and off the field, Batty was hit hard by a six-game suspension he received after an incident a week before the final, when he was sent off for throwing a punch at Blackburn's David Flitcroft before pushing referee David Elleray as he left the field.

The arrival of Ruud Gullit at St James’ Park was another blow for Batty, who said publicly that his favourite managers were Keegan and Daliglish, and the midfielder returned to Leeds at the end of 1998 after 112 appearances for Newcastle.

Batty was also an England regular during his time on Tyneside, playing in the 1998 World Cup in France, and, perhaps fittingly, marking what turned out to be the last of his 42 caps in 1999 by being sent off.

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