The on-loan Chelsea winger has thrilled his new fans on Tyneside with his part in Newcastle’s table-topping start to the season.

But back in his homeland he is making an even greater impression – helping to house orphans through his selfless charity work.

The Toon star, 24, knows first-hand how growing up in Ghana is tough – he says his own family had “very little money and very little food”.

But he feels fortunate to have had the support of his parents and gone on to make it as a professional footballer.

And that is why he is so desperate to give back to his countrymen who have been less lucky in their early life, through his role as global ambassador of Arms Around the Child.

The British charity currently supports six orphanage sites, including one in Ghana’s Senya-Beraku, which Atsu visited in the summer and recently organised for a load of Newcastle kit to be sent to.

Without any aid, many of the 50 orphaned kids housed here would have found themselves trafficked and sold as slaves.

And Atsu, 24, admitted: “Thanks to the work of the charity, these children go to school and have clean water and food.

“I am very happy to help because I know they really need me in this kind of situation.

“I want to help them and also to inspire them. I want to make them smile. They are always excited to see me."

Indeed, Atsu now gets the kind of hero’s reception previously reserved for past Ghanaian greats like Tony Yeboah, a legend of today’s opponents Leeds, who also used to raise money for orphans.

But Atsu gets just as much enjoyment in visiting the kids as they do in meeting him – these trips are not a chore.

And he admits how he turns into the giddy bare-footed street-footballer of his childhood each time he returns.

Atsu grew up in Ada Foah, 70 miles up the coast from the country’s capital Accra, and used to spend his every spare hour kicking a ball about without boots.

In fact, if he had it his way, he would probably run out at Elland Road today with nothing on his feet.

Atsu smiled: “When I was young, we played on the streets with our bare feet every time.

“Always and always I was out playing football because I loved the game.

“I remember my first football boots really well – they were Puma.

“When I started to play with boots it was when I joined my first team, Accra Under-12s, because when you are at a club, you have to use boots to play.

“I found it difficult to play with them! It was much more difficult than bare feet.

“I got used to it over time but even when I went to Ghana’s Feyenoord Academy, there were people playing who couldn’t play with their boots. They would have to be trained in how to use them!

“Any time I go to Ghana now, I still play in my bare feet on the streets. I love to do it.”