Ayoze Perez says he was ‘surprised’ at just how difficult it was last season when playing in the Championship.
Having played in the Spanish second tier at Tenerife, it was a bit of a shock to the system for the striker who turns 24 later this month.
Many Newcastle fans expected the likes of Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic to smash the Championship but it didn’t turn out quite like that.
Whilst Perez didn’t do quite as badly as the Serbian, Rafa Benitez still only gave him 25 league starts out of 46, as he more or less took turns with Mohamed Diame.
Neither of them impressing in the free role behind Dwight Gayle and leading fans to expect a new signing this summer to play in that number 10 role.
As well all know, recruitment hasn’t quite taken off the window and Newcastle travel to Hearts tonight for this first friendly, with only defender Florian Lejeune added to the squad, as well as Atsu becoming a permanent signing.
So until/unless anything changes, Rafa Benitez has pretty much the same options at the moment, as he had last year in the second tier.
Ayoze Perez declares ‘Thank God we are back in the Premier League’ but without significant reinforcements it is hard to see anything but a relegation battle.
Like many of his teammates two seasons ago, Perez flattered to deceive. At times looking like a Premier League player but just not on enough occasions.
This will be his fourth season in English football and aged 24, the Spaniard has to step it up if he is to show he can do it at the top level on a regular basis. He is a player where it is difficult to know his ideal position, as despite having clearly a level of skill, a lack of pace is a constant hindrance.
The benefit of bringing in better class players this summer would be to also hopefully bring out better play in others, no doubt somebody like Ayoze Perez would enjoy playing in a more attacking/dominant team than simply trying to hit the opposition on the break.
So many question marks four weeks before the new season and hopefully we will get some answers on and off the pitch in the coming weeks.
“I was very surprised how hard it was (in the Championship).
“It is very hard physically and mentally you need to be focused as well.
“A lot of games and you have to be as fit as you can – that division makes you learn a lot.
“I have learned a lot of things that make me feel more comfortable in English football, so we will see what happens next season.
“I will try to be as fit as I can to be ready.
“It has been tough but thank God we are back to the Premier League.”
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