Date: 22nd December 2005 at 1:46pm
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As we reported yesterday, Freddy Shepherd rejected mounting suggestions that Newcastle will cut their losses on Albert Luque next month, and Graeme Souness insists the former Deportivo La Coruña favourite will be given the time he needs to find his feet in the English game.

The 27-year-old has started just two Premiership fixtures since arriving from the Riazor in August and although he made a a return to United’s first-team squad last month, he has spent much of his time watching his team-mates from the substitutes’ bench.

Souness: ‘Albert is having to ease his way back to full fitness. We brought him back a little too early and you could tell in the games that he has played that he was still worried about his hamstring. He has had a really nasty injury, the injury he has had is worse than a broken leg.

‘He snapped his hamstring in two places and with any hamstring injury, it’s difficult when you come back and he is having to be patient. Albert is having to feel his way back.

‘It’s only in the last week or so that we have started to see glimpses of the player we signed. Only now in training are we starting to see a player who has the confidence not to hold back, who isn’t worrying about his hamstring the whole time.

‘I don’t know where people get the idea from that we would consider selling a player we worked so hard to sign only four months ago. Why on earth would we do that? Albert has only been here for a short time and his best is still to come in a black-and-white shirt.’