The Premier League’s 2017-18 schedule handed us a trip to newly-promoted Championship title-winners Newcastle on the opening day on August 12 and no less than a London derby against champions Chelsea at Wembley for our first home fixture on August 19. Remember, all dates are provisional at this stage and subject to change.
The stylish, powerful midfielder, recovering from a foot injury, recognised a tough start but just believes in what we can do.
“I’m happy with those fixtures,” he said. “It’s never easy at Newcastle and they will be motivated to start the season well, but that’s the case with everyone.
“To be honest, I don’t mind who we play first. I really believe in our own power and our own quality, like we showed last season and the season before.
“We know we can make it difficult for everyone and I’m sure that everyone has respect for us.
“We just want to start the season well. We’ll all look to have a good pre-season and we all know with this manager and staff we’ll be fit and our aim will be to start the season in the best way. That’s something we can be sure about.”