DAVIDE Santon’s having the time of his life at Newcastle United – on and off the pitch.
Santon helped Newcastle to a memorable, and historic, 1-0 win over Manchester United last weekend.
And the club’s first victory at Old Trafford in 41 years has buoyed Santon and his team-mates ahead of the hectic festive programme.
And Alan Pardew’s side take on Southampton at St James’s Park tomorrow looking to claim another victory, having beaten five of their last six opponents.
That result saw United end the weekend seventh in the Premier League.
There is growing optimism on Tyneside, given the team’s recent form, that the club, which reached the Europa League’s quarter finals last season, can again challenge for a European place.
Manager Pardew admitted after the Old Trafford win that there is an “opportunity” for Newcastle this season given the fluctuating fortunes of other teams, and that sentiment is shared by Santon, who played in the Champions League for former club Inter Milan.
“We think about it, yes,” Santon told the Gazette.
“It’s not easy to forget the amazing win (at Old Trafford), but as I have said we don’t have to stop now we beat Man United.
“The next game is another important game. We have to make sure we play like that again.
“We have to keep going, and try to win the game.
“Southampton are doing well. They have had two defeats in the last two games, but they started the season really well, and are in a good position.
“I think it will be a really good game.”
Santon moved to Newcastle from his native Italy in the summer of 2011, any fears that he would struggle to settle in the city were quickly dispelled.
The 22-year-old is as happy off the field as on it, having met his partner in Newcastle. Their daughter, Sienna, was born on Tyneside.
And Santon – who has a year and a half left on his contract – is looking to the long term at United, where he is Pardew’s first-choice left-back.
“I’m really enjoying myself,” added Santon.
“The team’s playing good football, and I’m really happy to play for Newcastle.
“I really, really like the team and the city. I want to give a lot to this club.”
The challenge for Santon, a full Italy international, is to improve and grow with the team over the coming weeks and months.
“I’m really happy, said Santon, who knows he has to be at his best to keep Paul Dummett out of the team.
“But I’m not 100 per cent yet, because I’m just 22 years old.
“I’ve got a lot to years for improvement.
“At the moment, the players are helping me a lot. I’m trying to play my best.
“I can still improve in what I’m doing.”