The Newcastle newcomer Sol Campbell has branded criticism of his physical condition as "pathetic" and vowed he will be back to peak fitness "in three or four weeks". The 35-year-old former England centre-back was labelled "fat belly" on message boards by Magpies supporters after the publication of a less-than-flattering training photograph over the weekend. "It's pathetic," Campbell told Soccernet. "I had been training for three days, just three days. I am three weeks behind everyone else in pre-season. Don't they know I have just got married and been on honeymoon?
"I accept that the picture wasn't flattering, and I do need to catch up on my level of fitness, but the training kit was not very flattering and showed up all sorts of things. "I am a naturally big guy, but I cannot rush my conditioning, otherwise trying too much too quickly could result in injuries. I really need three to four weeks to get back to peak fitness. "I've seen it all before, done it all before, heard it all before, but that means I also know exactly what to do. It's a long season and I cannot listen to idiots.
"My message is simple to all the knockers: I am knuckling down and want to play my football with a great club and a great manager. Then you can judge me." Meanwhile, Manchester United's Anderson is expected to return to the city this week after escaping with only minor injuries from a horrific car crash in Portugal. The Brazilian midfielder, 22, was pulled out of the wreckage of his Audi 8 sports car shortly before it burst into flames after hitting a wall in the early hours of Saturday. He is recovering from a ruptured cruciate ligament that he suffered in February.