Newcastle new-boy Sissoko reveals admiration for Arsenal legend Vieira

The midfielder has impressed since completing a move to St James' Park in January and has said the Gunners' past French stars sparked his dreams of playing in England
Newcastle new-boy Moussa Sissoko has revealed watching his idol Patrick Vieira inspired him to want to play in England.

Sissoko has settled quickly into English football after moving to the Magpies in January from Toulouse, netting twice in a man-of-the-match display on his home debut against Chelsea.

And the 23-year-old admits Arsenal's title-winning French contingent were a big influence on him growing up - particularly Vieira, on whom he modelled his all-action style.

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"It has gone off smoothly," he told L'Equipe. "I have had a lot of fun. The Frenchmen who came to Newcastle this winter have adapted very well. People are supporting us and you can feel it on the pitch.

"I have always wanted to play in England. It is the league that suits me the best.

"When I was a kid, I was very impressed by Arsenal with all their Frenchmen: Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. I was 10 or 11-years-old. That team made me dream. They won everything.

"I loved Thierry Henry and above all Patrick Vieira as we played in the same position. He radiated such power! He could cross the whole pitch with the ball at his feet.

"In midfield, he was the boss. Moreover, there was Highbury, with the fans so close to the pitch. I would have loved to play there."

Sissoko also revealed that while he can operate from wide positions, he prefers the freedom of playing in the middle.

He added: "I am not a No.10. Let's say I am an attacking central midfielder. I like to move, defend, attack. I do everything a bit.

"The centre is where I can bring the most to the team. On the side, it is much more complicated."