Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan insists he wants to hang onto striker Alan Smith.

He asked 27-year-old Smith to start alongside skipper Michael Owen in attack on Sunday after he was left out of Fabio Capello's first England squad, and has assured him he has an important role to play for the club.

Keegan said: "Alan Smith is one of those players around the football club that are just a delight to have.

"These are the sort of guys you build the club spirit on.

"He may not play every week, but he can play in different positions."