Here at Newcastle we’ve suffered our fair share of frustrating or out of sorts footballers. In recent years the likes of Boumsong, Luque, Carr and Babayaro immediately spring to mind. Many fans feel our summer signing from Manchester United Gabriel Obertan falls into this category and they haven’t been scared to show it.
Gabriel has had an indifferent start to his Newcastle career. Obertan’s seeming lack of a desire to cross and not using his obvious pace to great effect, the main reason for the derision. At the same time though he has at time presented some talent, the home win over Blackburn his shining hour, constantly causing problems for Gael Givet at left back. While Givet isn’t the greatest of opponents Obertan still showed the ability to take him on and consistently beat him.
In recent months fans have began to openly boo and jeer the 22 year old. This is a young player, only a year older than Davide Santon who is seen as a talent for the future. Fans have every right to voice their opinion but for me with Obertan it just seems to be detrimental. He’s a young player who now just seems to lack confidence, one bad performance has led to another and fans have immediately jumped on his back. I will be the first to admit that he hasn’t played well enough but am the last to boo him. Obertan strikes me as the sort of player and person who needs support, he has a five year contract at the club so clearly a player Pardew expects to groom and the abuse has seen him go into his shell.
Obertan is raw to say the least and at times it’s apparent he could be a very good player. It has just shocked me a young man has come in for such abuse from the stands. It’s destroyed his confidence and just seen him drop out of the first team picture. A lot of the frustrating players we’ve had have been experienced professionals and so perhaps the abuse was founded but with Obertan it is just perplexing. Maybe it’s the role he plays, he’s expected to be full of flair and create and doesn’t always. Expectations may be too high with where he came from and the noises Manchester United fans made about his talent and their disappointment with his departure.
I just feel fans have been harsh on Obertan and have rarely seen a young player hounded like this at Newcastle. At the end of the day we’re meant to support our team and the players that play there. His occasional apparent lack of effort is frustrating but he needs to be nurtured by the coaches and the fans, not jeered. Let’s get behind this clearly talented young man and turn him into a footballer.