Florian Thauvin caught the eye with his brief cameo on Saturday teatime against Aston Villa.
With the visitors having dominated the second half, the French winger came on and gave United a rare extra attacking dimension of width.
A few decent crosses doesn’t make a season but with Aleksandar Mitrovic now seemingly set for another run in the team, there has to be a change of emphasis from somewhere, aimed at getting in service to a striker who has scored the majority of career goals via his head.
When asked at his pre-Everton press conference about the former Marseille winger, Steve McClaren said that it was ‘Too soon, too soon’ for those who have already written off Florian Thauvin as a first teamer at Newcastle.
After impressing when he came on and almost won the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Thauvin then scored one and made two in a man of the match performance during the 4-1 win over Northampton.
His commitment was then praised after being forced into a lone role against Arsenal after the Mitrovic sending off, only for poor team performances against Watford, West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday (League Cup) seeing Steve McClaren apparently making Thauvin the scapegoat for those defeats.
With not a single start in three months, is that due to change?
The United boss says he has seen definite signs of Florian Thauvin improving/adapting this month in training and he was impressed with what he saw against Aston Villa.
Newcastle have become very predictable, with almost every attack going down the right hand side and relying on Moussa Sissoko and Daryl Janmaat forcing the ball forward with powerful running.
Also, the quality of set-pieces has generally being pretty appalling so potentially Thauvin could provide the answer there as well.
Aleksandar Mitrovic had looked ever more demotivated with the lack of service before he was dropped, so is this the time to also move away from the negative formation with two defensive midfielders, allowing the accommodation of a winger like Florian Thauvin?
“Too soon, too soon (for Florian Thauvin to have been written off)…I have to say the first game against Northampton in the League Cup, I thought he was outstanding.
“But he’s just not kicked on and some players are like that, they give you that and then they dip.
“I see definite signs of his adapting in the last few weeks, certainly in terms of training and certainly on Saturday.
“When he came on (last 19 minutes v Villa), he was excellent.”