Newcastle new boy Cheik Tiote has revealed that Didier Drogba persuaded him to try his luck in England.
The Ivory Coast international moved to St James’ Park over the summer after being advised by his Chelsea counterpart that the Premier League was the place to be.
Tiote, who shone for his country at the 2010 World Cup, has now added to the sizeable Ivorian ranks within the English top flight, joining Drogba, Kolo and Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Emmanuel Eboue at that level.
The 24-year-old is delighted to have made such a move and believes he made the right choice in listening to Drogba.
Tiote told Newcastle’s official website: « He [Drogba] is someone I know well.
« I have learned a lot from him, he’s a great guy. It was him who suggested to me that I come and play football in England.
« The English league is very well known over there. I think it is a sign of the quality of the Cote d’Ivoire players that there are so many of them playing in England.
« I know them all well and I have seen a few of them already since arriving. »
Tiote was an unused substitute as Newcastle crashed to a shock 2-0 defeat to Blackpool on Saturday – a result which brought their 26-game unbeaten run on home soil to an abrupt halt.
He has, however, seen enough of English football to whet his appetite and convince him that he was right to turn his back on FC Twente during the transfer window.
Tiote said: « It is different here. The fans seem to be so passionate and I have heard a lot about them.
« There were nearly 50,000 here for the Blackpool game, which is amazing. The club is very professional, and I’m very happy here.
« For me, Newcastle is perfect. Firstly, it is a club I love, and it is a big club.
« It isn’t a small team – it’s Newcastle, you know? I know the history of the club well. »
Tiote is currently brushing up on his English as he gets to grips with life in a new country, although working under an English-speaking coach represents few problems for him.
He was part of the FC Twente squad which won the Dutch title under former England boss Steve McClaren last season, and then spent the summer working with McClaren’s predecessor, Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson, at the World Cup.
Tiote said: « The language is no problem. I cope fine with the terminology of football, it’s not a problem at all.
« Steve McClaren is a real coach. Players work hard for him and I think that experience will be helpful for me here at Newcastle.
« I do think English coaches have a different approach to the game and they expect a different work ethic. »