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Page last updated at 08:30 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 09:30 UK

Beardsley wants Chopra to return

Chopra celebrates a Cardiff goal, but Beardsley says he's a Magpie at heart
Chopra celebrates a Cardiff goal, but Beardsley says he's a Magpie at heart

Newcastle United legend Peter Beardsley says the Magpies would love to bring Michael Chopra back to Tyneside.

Chopra, 25, faces his boyhood club on Sunday when the ex-Premier League giants travel to Cardiff.

And ex-striker Beardsley, who coached Chopra at Newcastle's youth academy, believes the striker still dreams of a return to St James' Park.

"I think that's still Michael's dream - to wear the number nine shirt for Newcastle," said the ex-England star.

Chopra came through the trainee ranks at Newcastle, but struggled to emerge from the shadow of legendary striker Alan Shearer.

He scored just one goal in 21 league appearances for the Magpies before being sold to Cardiff in 2006.

606: DEBATE

But Beardsley believes Chopra, who was one of few players to cross the Tyne-Wear divide when he left Cardiff for Sunderland for £5m in 2007, before returning to south Wales, craves a second chance at his hometown club.

"For me, it wasn't the right choice for us to sell him in the first place," Beardsley told the BBC's Sport Wales programme.

"Michael should've stayed here and developed and then he would never have gone to Sunderland and he might be in our first team now. He is the type of player we could do with now.

"Michael still lives here [Newcastle], he's still got family here. Obviously he's in Cardiff when he's playing football, but he comes up here whenever it's possible. He's still black and white.

"As Newcastle Academy staff, we would love to have him back here."

Beardsley rates Chopra as one of Newcastle's best academy products, the striker having been snapped up by the Magpies when he was only nine-years-old.

I've worked with a lot of academy kids and, in terms of attitude and ability, Michael was the best

Peter Beardsley

"I first got to know Michael as a 15-year-old who was on Newcastle's books and about to become apprentice," said Beardsley, who scored more than 100 league goals for the club in two spells at St James' Park.

"I've worked with a lot of academy kids and, in terms of attitude and ability, Michael was the best.

"I'd say 90 per cent of where Michael is today is down to himself. His attitude and enthusiasm. That's something you can't give people. I can't speak highly enough of him."

Chopra has made a stunning start to the season after Cardiff paid £4m to make his loan move from Sunderland permanent in the summer.

And Beardsley expects him to continue the form which has seen him net eight goals in the first seven games of the season.

"No disrespect to Michael - and I've spoken to him about this before - he may not be a top Premier League player but he is a brilliant Championship player," Beardsley said.

"It's no surprise to me that he's scoring goals and he'll be a threat to Newcastle on Sunday."

Peter Beardsley is on Friday's Sport Wales, BBC TWO Wales, 2100 BST



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see also
Chopra completes Cardiff switch
04 Jul 09 |  Cardiff
Chopra says problems 'behind him'
07 Nov 08 |  Cardiff
Club backing for troubled Chopra
28 Aug 08 |  Wear
Sunderland wrap up Chopra signing
13 Jul 07 |  Sunderland
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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