Robert denies newspaper interview

Last updated : 13 January 2003 By Martyn Elliott

"Hardly a day goes by without the press wanting to talk to me," claimed Robert.

"They are always alleging that I have criticised the club or my team-mates.

"The News of the World article is another example where I did not speak to them and they write things I have not said.

"I would like to put an end to these controversies once and for all and I emphasise again that I want to stay at Newcastle United and give my best for the club and the fans.

"I respect Newcastle United and all my team-mates, who have shown and continue to show that they are great players.

"From now on I will make every effort to ensure that only my playing ability will be reported."

And Sir Bobby added: "This is a serious matter and we want to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.

"Laurent is distraught. He's beside himself and is desperate to put the record straight."

It seems likely that the incident will just blow over, but irrespective of what happened on this occasion Robert has been guilty of criticising his team mates on his personal website a number of times.

He is also guilty of putting in a succession of performances this season which are not acceptable for a player of his ability. The occasional poor game happens for every player, but Robert’s continuing lack of effort on the pitch is entirely unacceptable.

If the Frenchman, who is surely only retaining his place in the starting line-up due to Hugo Viana’s injury, can not show evidence that he is prepared to work harder to improve his form and his contribution to the team effort then he should be sold.

Robert was one of the stars of last season but to have been out of form for half a season suggests that something is seriously wrong and this must be sorted out for the overall good of the club.