Steve McClaren has admitted he knew very little about Newcastle’s star performer when he took the Head Coach job.

McClaren acknowledging he didn’t give the striker a fair crack of the whip in pre-season and in the early games this season.

The Newcastle boss saying that he relied more on players he had heard of and knew more about.

In pre-season the likes of Papiss Cisse and Siem de Jong got more time on the pitch that the Spanish striker, whilst once the season kicked off it was a case of players such as Obertan and Cisse being picked ahead of Ayoze Perez.

McClaren talks about Perez ‘playing a little bit last season’ as maybe a reason for not knowing much about him but the Spaniard was involved in 36 of Newcastle’s 38 Premier League matches last season. Ayoze Perez and Daryl Janmaat were easily Newcastle’s best players last season and so it is hard to believe that he didn’t register for McClaren.

Maybe a case of the Head Coach not wanting to admit his poor error of judgement at the start of the season, with McClaren defensively saying that ‘It has taken him a while to get going this season’.

Well of course it did – but that was because McClaren wasn’t picking him! Giving the likes of Obertan, Cisse and de Jong chances ahead of Ayoze Perez.

Perez only got his first start because Sissoko missed the Manchester United game through injury and then despite being one of Newcastle’s best players at Old Trafford, Steve McClaren immediately dropped him.

It was a month later when he got another start, in the home defeat to Watford.

Looking at when Ayoze Perez has and hasn’t played…in the eight games he has started Newcastle have picked up nine points, whilst in the four games he wasn’t named in the starting 11 United picked up only one point.

Steve McClaren:

“Ayoze Perez has forced his way in, when I first came, I didn’t know a lot about him.

“There were other players in a similar position who I knew a lot more about. Ayoze had limited opportunities in pre-season but he stuck at it, he kept going and has forced his way into things.


“You try to develop cohesion in a team, and players who can play well together. That is the process we have been going through since the start of this season, getting the cohesion right.

“Gini Wijnaldum and Ayoze link up well together, leave each other with a bit of freedom.

Perez moving on?:

“His career is definitely best served here, he is getting development, a good education, the right training and most important of all, he is playing.

“It is important that he keeps playing and that he is supported and loved. The fans love him here, his teammates love him and we love him as well – a great environment for Ayoze to develop.

A while to get going…:

“He is someone who is doing very well after arriving as a player with potential and playing a little bit last season.

“It has taken him a while to get going this season but he has certainly become an important player.

“I look at him though and he has still got a long way to go, a lot to do but the potential is massive.”