Paul Merson has named one player who had gone missing for Newcastle but who in recent weeks has emerged when the team have needed him.

That player is the enigma known as Moussa Sissoko.

Merson says that when United were struggling, along with the rest of his teammates, Sissoko was anonymous.

As arguably Newcastle’s most talented player, Paul Merson believes that the French midfielder should be taking games by the ‘scruff of the neck’.

No surprise that recent wins have coincided with better performances from Moussa Sissoko and the Sky Sports pundit concedes that he has now stepped up belatedly to help in the relegation battle.

Even against Aston Villa, nearly all of Newcastle’s play came down the right hand side via Sissoko and to a lesser extent, Daryl Janmaat.

Whilst not in any way defending Moussa Sissoko’s often wayward contribution, you have to accept that Newcastle have become very predictable and so opposition teams know that defending their left side is the major priority.

Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:

“When they went through that (not winning) run you didn’t really see him (Moussa Sissoko) but all of a sudden he has now come to the fore.

“He is a handful, he’s big and he is strong, he should be taking the game by the scruff of the neck a lot more than he does.

“Fair play to him, when they have needed him now, he has stepped up – sometimes that is very difficult when you’re not winning football matches.”