A Geordie girlfriend and an appetite for pies is helping Davide Santon to establish himself at Newcastle United.
The Italian Under-21 international moved to the Premiership club in 2011 from Inter and, after some initial difficulties, is finally starting to prove his worth.
“If you thought we were going to get an instant replacement for Jose Enrique, we would have had to pay more than £10m,” Newcastle boss Alan Pardew stated.
“Instead, we got a young player who was going to grow with us and he is starting to mature and be very effective for us. I am so pleased for him. He was still a boy last year, but he's starting to play like a man.
“Davide looks to be in a good place right now. His language skills have improved and he has a North-East girlfriend cooking him some nice pies, so he's a bit happier…
“He's a lovely lad, he loves the area and does a great job for us. He's really growing into his role and is very effective for us – he's been a revelation so far this season.
“His raids down the left-hand side are becoming more potent. He still has lots to learn to be a top Italian full-back, but he's making some inroads.”
Tickets for the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid are still on sale with reseller Viagogo - Click to find out more