Steve McClaren thinks Rolando Aarons is a very exciting prospect but has dropped a big hint that he won’t be a first team regular this season, at least to begin with.

The friendlies have seen the 19 year old get a decent amount of time on the pitch but it is Gabriel Obertan who looks all but certain to start on Sunday against Southampton.

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Whilst Rolando Aarons showed with a great assist for Wijnaldum and two brilliant strikes of his own against Portland Timbers, just what he capable of.

Gabriel Obertan has been much his usual self, steady enough and looking like he might do something, but next to no end product.

After watching him for four years now, I think we all know what to expect.

Steve McClaren talking to the BBC:

“I remember watching Rolando Aarons playing for the England Under-20s and I rang up next day and said…. ‘Alan (Pardew) you have got to let this kid come to Derby (on loan) as he would be fantastic, he has such pace and excitement’.

“He gets you up off your seat, you want players like that, a bit erratic and inconsistent but he is very young.”

No blocking progress?:

“We don’t want to block Rolando’s progress or pathway to the first team because that is where eventually he will be.

“We are introducing him slowly though and we even played him at left-back in one of the pre season matches and he was absolutely terrific – this will improve his defensive work. We don’t want to block his progress as he is going to be an exciting player.”

So is Steve McClaren right to take it slowly with Rolando Aarons?

I’m pretty sure a straw poll of Newcastle fans would quickly give you the answer.

When we asked fans who they would pick in a 20 man Newcastle squad, 97% picked Aarons and only 19% Obertan (see full squad results HERE).

United have looked pedestrian in pre season and desperate for a spark/a wildcard, to give them something a bit different.

You don’t want young players just thrown in at the deep end but Rolando Aarons turns 20 in November and didn’t look at all in awe of the occasion when making it into the first team a year ago, whereas we all know that Obertan is frequently like a rabbit caught in the headlights and plays with very little confidence.

Looking at the positives, at least with the likes of Rolando Aarons on the bench, as well as probably Mitrovic, we have far better options than at any time last season if things aren’t going the right way against Southampton…