By MILES STARFORTH
Published on Saturday 2 June 2012 10:30
ALAN Smith’s five-year Newcastle United career is at an end – but he could be reunited with Alan Pardew in the future.
The midfielder will become a free agent when his contract ends on June 30.
And Smith – who made just 77 starts, and failed to find the net, for Newcastle – could sign a permanent deal with MK Dons, where he spent the second half of last season on loan.
The League One club’s manager, Karl Robinson, confirmed this week he had already held talks with the 31-year-old, who has also interested Orlando City.
Smith, however, is already eyeing a career in coaching, and Pardew, having worked closely with the former England international over the past 18 months, will follow his career with interest.
“I can’t praise Alan highly enough as a person,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“It’s been difficult for him to get in the side, and he went out on loan.
“His professionalism around the place has been brilliant – it was a joy to work with him.
“At some stage in the future, I might get the opportunity to work with him again.
“He’s got a real future in coaching after he finishes playing.
“He wants to keep on playing, but I’ll keep an eye on him – he’s got great attributes.”
Smith was signed in the summer of 2007 by Sam Allardyce after a three-year spell at Manchester United.
The former Leeds United player was quickly converted into a midfielder, but his career on Tyneside was blighted by injury.
And Smith made just two brief substitute’s appearances for the club last term before joining MK Dons, who only paid a small proportion of his sizeable wage.
On his interest in signing Smith, Robinson said: “We’ve had a little chat, and it’s looking good. Me and Smithy get on very well.”