Ayoze Perez was one of the 26 man Newcastle squad who arrived in County Kildare on Saturday for a week of pre-season training.
Monday morning saw Newcastle United confirm that there were now 27 players training there now, as it was revealed Isaac Hayden had become Rafa’s fifth buy of the summer.
Ayoze Perez says that with the bigger squad, it is going to be ‘interesting’ to see who gets into the starting eleven.
Whilst there looks sure to be further comings and goings, it does appear that Rafa Benitez is going to guarantee that Newcastle have bigger and more balanced squad than that seen in recent years.
An accusation often levelled regarding Newcastle’s failures, has been the fact that far too many players knew that their places were guaranteed, no matter how they played. Both because of lack of alternatives and managers who refused to leave out underperforming players.
Last season Rafa Benitez showed that he would leave anybody out who wasn’t doing the business, with Ayoze Perez one of those sidelined, as well as the surprise omissions of the likes of Shelvey, Wijnaldum and Mitrovic.
Hopefully competition for places will help in pre-season training to ensure the squad/team is ready right from the moment the season kicks off in 25 days time.
As Ayoze Perez puts it: ‘if you want to celebrate in May you have to work hard in July’.
The Spanish striker also says he now has an additional role, helping new signing Jesus Gamez to overcome the language barrier and settle into the squad as soon as possible.
Ayoze Perez talking to NUFC TV:
“Good time with the group altogether, it is really nice. It is going to be hard work but happy to be here for pre-season.
“We need the hard work to prepare the team and if you want to celebrate in May you have to work hard in July.
“The most important thing is the training but this one is closer (than USA/New Zealand in last two summers) to our home – we are just focused on the job.”
Arrival of Jesus Gamez:
“I am helping him because I speak English, I’m trying to get him close to everyone.
“He is a really nice guy and I’m happy to have him here with us and he is going to help us to come back (to the Premier League).
“You come to a foreign country, you don’t speak the language – so it is quite hard to deal with and I am here to help him. He is going to learn English as quickly as possible.
“It is good to have the new signings and with the bigger squad it is going to be interesting to see who plays…”