Former Newcastle United forward David Ginola has told the club’s French brigade to speak English and embrace the local culture.
Newcastle have 10 French players in their squad this season, plus two more with French-speaking backgrounds, and Ginola has warned the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Loic Remy and Papiss Cisse from forming a clique, which excludes British players.
Ginola, who played for Newcastle, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton after leaving his native France in 1995, argued players must get involved with the local culture when they live overseas and that the French players at St James’ Park this season could improve team unity by speaking English exclusively.
“You can’t just arrive in Newcastle and say, ‘I’m just going to live my life, I don’t want to understand the culture’,” Ginola told The Mirror.
“It could be bad if all the French players stick too much together; you don’t speak English, you speak French together in the dressing room.
“I guess there will be some rules in the dressing room that the French should speak English. That could be a problem.
“It’s also a problem with English-speaking players. I’ve been in this situation before when I was speaking in French with some of my friends, sometimes English players start to get annoyed because they think we are talking about them.
“It can bring some issues in a dressing room and this is something you have to avoid.”
Ginola explained the issues he faced when he joined Newcastle from Paris Saint-Germain in 1995 and underlined the unique culture of the Geordies in England’s north.
“When you are from Saint Tropez, and you play four years in Paris, and you arrive in the North-East of England, you think that people speak English, but in fact they speak Geordie,” Ginola said.
“So for me it was like a foreign language but another foreign language.
“So I said to myself that would be difficult but having said that, I did everything I could to be accepted; learning the language, doing my best every day in training.
“The best reward for me was that people questioned how I would do in England and in the North-East but I arrived on July 14, started the season and I was voted player of the month for August.
“It means I settled down pretty quickly and learned about things pretty quickly, and this is what they should do.”