Smith insists he's not happy picking up Newcastle wages without playing

Alan Smith denies he's happy to sit back and pick up his big wages at Newcastle United.

Alan Smith denies he's happy to sit back and pick up his big wages at Newcastle United.

Smith, a £6million buy in August 2007, admits he is on big money — believed to be around £60,000-a-week.

But he insists playing football comes first. He told The Sun: "You want to prove to people and to yourself that you are still a good player.

"I've got 19 England caps, not one or two, so I must be able to play a bit. But the longer it goes on, you lose your identity. I'm not happy just to stay and pick up my wages — it's not what I'm about. I put it in every week in training.

"I can talk to other clubs with my contract being up and, if I have to go, wages won't come into consideration. I was out for 18 months because of injury at United and had that ankle break at Sunderland playing for Newcastle.

"But I'm absolutely fine now. If anything the time I've had out of the game just makes me more hungry to play. I've got a hunger for the game like you wouldn't believe.

"I train with the first team every day. I've never felt fitter and I never give less than 100 per cent. The manager doesn't blank me, he talks to me all the time, maybe even about stuff he shouldn't.

"We discuss different styles and how we are playing, he knows I have experience and can help out."

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