Fit to wear the shirt! Cisse proud to wear Newcastle's iconic No 9
17:52 GMT, 26 April 2012
Scoring sensation Papiss Cisse has admitted he is thriving on the pressure of trying to live up to the demands of wearing Newcastle's famous No 9 shirt
The 26-year-old Senegal international
has plundered 11 goals in just 10 appearances for the club since he
joined from Freiburg in a near-10million switch in January.
High life: Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse
His contribution has proved key in a run of six successive victories which have propelled the Magpies into fourth place in the Barclays Premier League table and to within touching distance of Champions League qualification.
Cisse is well aware of the history of the shirt he has inherited, and in particular, the heroics performed in it by one of his predecessors, Alan Shearer.
He told Sky Sports' Barclays Premier League World programme: 'When I came, it was a big surprise that they had reserved the shirt for me. I just said, 'Wow!'.
'That's more pressure on me, but pressure in a good way, pressure which motivates me.
'He [Shearer] is a footballing legend here at Newcastle, and I come from nowhere and get to wear it…
Toon legend: Alan Shearer
'At the moment, I am growing into it and I hope, God willing, to continue wearing it.'
Cisse's exploits to date have won him a rapturous welcome from the Toon Army, and the rapidly developing love affair is mutual.
The striker said: 'I can tell you that scoring a goal in that stadium is something amazing.
'Even yesterday, I was remembering a goal that I scored in front of them. My eyes met with those in the crowd and I told myself, “Wow, this is something really extraordinary”.'
Cisse is one of several of Alan Pardew's players to have excelled in recent months, with France international Hatem Ben Arfa particularly impressive after recovering from his double leg fracture.
His efforts too have been appreciated as much in the dressing room as they have from the terraces.
Hot shot: Cisse has scored 11 goals in 10 games
Cisse said: 'The first time I saw him here, I thought, “There is something Messi-like about this guy”. The ball sticks to his feet.
'He can run with it – he can do anything with it. It's extraordinary. It's a pleasure to watch him play.'
The Magpies head for Wigan on Saturday knowing their hopes of a top-four finish remain in their own hands, although with tough games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton to come.
But as they have done all season, they will tackle each hurdle as it arrives and see where they end up at the end of the campaign.
Cisse said: 'We are going to take each match as it comes and take the points as we can, hoping to win every game and that other teams slip up.
'Hopefully, we can take the points.'