July 17, 2018 / 9:52 AM / 5 months ago

Striker Perez confirms Newcastle stay for next season

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United vs Chelsea - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - May 13, 2018 Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez is loving life at the Premier League club and has dismissed reports that he could move back to teams in his native Spain.

The 24-year-old, who joined Newcastle in 2014, excelled for the Magpies last season and was their top scorer with eight goals and four assists in 36 Premier League appearances.

His impressive form in the second half of the season has led to media reports of La Liga clubs Real Sociedad and Real Betis being interested in bringing Perez back to Spain.

“I want to be at Newcastle going forward, 100 per cent,” Perez told Chronicle Live. “I am living my dream of playing in the Premier League, playing for a massive team, and so it’s good to be here and I love playing for this club.

“Obviously it is good to have interest from those Spanish teams, because it makes you feel like you are doing something great, and shows I must be doing something right. But honestly I’m happy in England, I’m happy playing in the Premier League.”

Perez said that he was motivated to drive Newcastle’s growth next season as the forward hopes to earn a cap for Spain’s senior national team.

Newcastle have five pre-season friendlies, starting with Irish top-flight club St. Patrick’s Athletic later on Tuesday, before hosting Tottenham Hotspur in their opening match on Aug. 11.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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