Christian Atsu had to show patience after arriving at St James Park, Rafa Benitez eventually picking the winger for his first Championship start at Rotherham, where he scored the winning goal and turned in a man of the match display.

Atsu kept his place and starred again as Newcastle overcame Brentford 3-1 on Saturday, before then entrusted with a late substitute appearance at Barnsley on Tuesday night to help see out the 2-0 win.

Just as things come together at club level, there has been a reminder of the winger’s international credentials.

Ghana legend Karim Abdul Razak (AKA ‘Golden Boy’) has tipped compatriot Christian Atsu to be one of the key players at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the new year.

Back in the day, Razak  was the superstar of football in Ghana and helped them win the African Cup of Nations in 1978, was named African football of the year as well, then went on to play for the star-studded New York Cosmos.

In the last African Cup of Nations, Christian Atsu was named player of the tournament in 2015 as Ghana ended up runners-up to the Ivory Coast.

‘Golden Boy’ Razak was present at the group draw on Wednesday and named what he believes are the potential stars of the tournament:

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has always been there for Gabon, then Sadio Mane for Senegal.

“Algeria have Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Yacine Brahimi, plus for Ghana Andre Ayew if he is fit and Christian Atsu – who can deliver on a good day.”

2017 African Cup of Nations Groups

A: Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Burkina Faso

B: Senegal (Mohamed Diame), Algeria, Zimbabwe, Tunisia

C: DR Congo (Chancel Mbemba), Morocco (Achraf Lazaar), Ivory Coast, Togo

D: Ghana (Christian Atsu), Egypt, Mali, Uganda