It was 13 months ago when Mohamed Diame released a public statement.
In mid-March 2017 there was some hilarity as the Newcastle midfielder announced (see below) he was retiring from international football to concentrate on doing his best for Newcastle United.
After a very mediocre season in the Championship, it was difficult to see how he would be missed by his country, with also big doubts on him even getting a game for Newcastle as they headed into the Premier League.
Nevertheless, at the time, Diame’s decision was met with a lot of disappointment back in Senegal.
Former Birmingham and Portsmouth player, Aliou Cisse, has guided Senegal to the World Cup finals in Russia and on hearing the player’s announcement he stated ‘his country needs him’. However, he said he had been forced to ‘respect’ the midfielder’s decision to retire (see below).
When the Premier League season kicked off, it was 11 weeks before Mohamed Diame got his first start, a poor display in a 1-0 defeat at Burnley (30 October), then at the end of November came his next start in a 3-0 defeat by Watford. Next two games got no better, Diame starting in an away loss at Chelsea and home one to Everton.
He looked a player out of his depth, then came West Ham away and Newcastle in the relegation zone.
Injuries and suspension saw Rafa forced to play Henri Saivet and Mohamed Diame in the centre of midfield, fans feared the worst.
However, despite going a goal down, Newcastle came back…