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Newcastle's Tiote hopes to follow in Essien's footsteps

Newcastle midfielder Cheik Tiote (r)
Tiote (r) has been in good form for Newcastle since joining the club

Ivory Coast midfielder Cheikh Tiote hopes to follow in the footsteps of his role model Michael Essien.

The 24-year-old has had an impressive start to life in the English Premier League with newcomers Newcastle United.

Tiote has been compared to fellow midfielder Essien who plays for Chelsea, and it's a comparison he is keen to live up to.

"Obviously I'm only young but to be compared to Essien is quite a compliment," he told the club's official website,

Answering fans' questions on the website, Tiote praised Essien's style of play.

"I've always seen Essien as a role model in midfield and one day I hope to be as good as him - or even better!" he said.

Tiote was part of the FC Twente squad which won the Dutch Eredivisie title, and played in all of Ivory Coast's games at the World Cup campaign in South Africa.

Tiote says a move to the English Premier League was always on the cards.

"Back in Holland, I always watched the Premier League and I really enjoyed watching it.

"So to now be playing in it is an achievement for me," he added.

His energetic displays for Newcastle have made him an instant fan favourite around St James' Park's fans but Tiote says the adoration will not curb his thirst for success.

"I started playing aged 12, in Africa [and] everybody knows that the conditions there are not the best, but you must have the desire and mental strength to get over it," he explained.

"That's what made me who I am today. You need to just keep working hard and believe in your ability," he concluded.

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see also
Newcastle complete Tiote signing
27 Aug 10 |  Newcastle
Cheik Tiote in World Cup action
22 Aug 10 |  Newcastle
Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal
15 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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