Adlène Guedioura has been around long enough to know that Etienne Capoue will come straight back into the side against Southampton on Wednesday night. He’s not daft. But what the Algerian has shown Quique Sanchez Flores, in his first 90 minutes of the season, is that he can be relied on to be more than just a trusted option off the bench.
“I wish [I have given the boss something to think about for Wednesday night],” said Guedioura who has had to have the patience of a saint since signing from Crystal Palace on deadline day. “I hope I played how I know I can and I wish to continue like that and play in the Premier League team. That is the aim now.”
Having secured his dream move, he isn’t about to throw his toys out of the pram at not being selected to start.
“The team have done well since the beginning of the season and… I understand you don’t change the winning team. I know the time will come for me and I will stay in the team. I came here for the project, I want to grow with the club and I am happy to be here,” he said. “I think with the performance today that we all show that. Some are not used to playing and they have the chance to show what they can do. It is better for the manager to have a headache to pick the team.”
Sanchez Flores will not be reaching for the Nurofen just yet (other headache tablets are available, by the way) but Guedioura certainly enhanced his claims more than, say, Steven Berghuis did in the third-round FA Cup tie against Newcastle United.
“I thought it was a good game, because first of all we won against a difficult team, a team they usually play in the Premier League, so it was a good test for us, for me,” said Guedioura whose first appearance since signing as a permanent player came as a substitute in the 2-1 win at St James’ Park. “I am happy that we won and we didn’t concede.”
When the euphoria about Guedioura’s resigning in September died down you wondered where he was going to fit into the head coach’s 4-2-3-1 formation. He doesn’t strike you as an archetypal holding midfielder nor does he seem best suited to playing wide in the more advanced spots either side of Troy Deeney. Sanchez Flores has not ruled out playing three across the middle of the park in a 4-3-3 system as the season wears on and he gets the personnel he requires in the transfer window.
“I am used to playing this [holding position] in Nottingham or in the national team, it is something that I know and I even used to play in front of the back four, so it is not something that I mind and also it is in the middle of the pitch, where I am used to playing, so I don’t mind, I like it,” he said. “I don’t mind where I play, I just prefer to play.”
His fans, of which there are many, were delighted to see him start a game for the first time this season.
“I am so happy to see the fans and happy they are pleased to see me, it is something very special, and this is why I wanted to come back, always having the respect and support behind me and behind the club it is a special thing,” he said.
*Additional reporting by David Anderson