There is no other way to say it, Rolando Aarons had a shocker on Saturday.
The 20-year-old made numerous basic errors as Chelsea tore apart Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, rightfully running out 5-1 winners.
The winger has deputised at left-back in recent weeks, thanks to injuries to Paul Dummett and Kevin Mbabu, both who would certainly be ahead of the former Bristol City youth star were they fit, and because Newcastle failed to recruit this January in a position they knew they were dangerously short of depth.
It’s fair to say, Rolando Aarons is not a left-back. His positioning, tackling, marking and even clearances, leave plenty to be desired; but he doesn’t claim to be one, so is it really his fault?
Unfortunately, Aarons has been thrown into the firing line, required to learn a position that he probably will find himself playing little in as his career progresses, to aid a club that has no other choice. Sadly, this isn’t exactly the best time for making up the numbers.
With 12 games left and relegation becoming an increasingly worrying prospect on Tyneside, time is of the essence for Newcastle United; there can be no passengers.
In an ideal world the club would have more than two senior left-backs. Actually make that, in a logical world the club would have more than two senior left-backs. But Newcastle don’t, so Aarons has to stand in and he’s unsurprisingly failing to do the job.
You’d think that with the club captain at his side, Aarons would be bossed around, marshalled to be where he’s meant to be, made to stick like glue to those he’s meant to be with and with a bit of luck, he’d make do. Yet Fabricio Coloccini has never been the most vocal player and he looks completely at sea himself, something that can be said about the entire squad at the moment in all honesty.
Even with all the above in mind, there are arguments that as a winger, Aarons should be at least acquainted with the art of defending, given he’s meant to cover his full-back when the opposition have the ball. But we have to bear in mind, he’s made only a handful of senior appearances, and the difference between playing left-back and playing left-wing is enormous, especially when playing at the highest level.
One mistake can be punished severely, as Rolando Aarons found out time and time again on Saturday.
Were Newcastle mid-table, fans would probably be more accepting of the fact that one of the Academy’s most exciting attacking prospects is having to put a shift in at the back. A player who is developing will always make mistakes and fans can deal with that, if there is nothing to lose.
When you’ve been sitting in the bottom three for the majority of the season, you know you need another left-back.
If you don’t recruit in the transfer window, there are no excuses to have Rolando Aarons playing in a position he has no real business being in.
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