sport

Pardew sets Sissoko challenge

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is looking for leadership from Moussa Sissoko, a player he considers to be a 'huge character'.

The French midfielder is behind skipper Fabricio Coloccini and vice-captains Cheick Tiote and Siem de Jong when it comes to on-field responsibilities, but everyone at St James' Park has a role to play.

Pardew is looking to his experienced heads to set the tone, and Sissoko is an international performer who graced the global stage at this summer's World Cup.

It is therefore important that the 25-year-old takes on a more senior role and helps to fill the void created by countryman Yohan Cabaye's departure to Paris St Germain in January, according to Pardew.

Pardew said: \"Cabaye was our leader on the pitch in the way he pulled the strings and dictated the pace.

\"Moussa is a different type of player, but he can lead us with his spirit and his drive.

\"They are his strengths. He has such tremendous power and in the Premier League that is so important.\"

There is a feeling around St James' Park that there is more to come from Sissoko, with the former Toulouse man expected to kick on after 18 months in England.

Pardew added: \"I think Moussa is a player who can grow. And I think he can improve both for us and for France.

\"He's a huge character as well as an important player for us and we will see more of his character this year.

\"He has a winning mentality and we are looking forward to a big season from him.\"