Alan Pardew has taken Davide Santon out of the firing line in recent matches but in a good way, not like some of the managers that have gone before.

In the past we’ve had managers who would single out players as scapegoats and publicly (or us friendly journalists) slate them to cover up bad results and their own shortcomings.

Credit to Pardew for coming out and explaining his reasoning for leaving him out;

“I was going to leave Davide Santon out against Arsenal – Ryan Taylor was going to play.

At the last minute, I’ve had to turn to him and put him in the team.

That takes a lot of character to play that night.

I was really pleased for Davide. He had to come off the bench (against Norwich) after being left out.

I think his form’s suffered a little bit, but he sealed us up at the end, and I was pleased with that.

Mental strength is a massive thing in the Premier League. He’s only a young boy.

He’ll learn, and it will have done him good”.

From the outside I believe it is clear that Santon deserves to be in the first team, even when he has a poor first-half like he did against Arsenal.

I think though that the manager is looking at the bigger long-term picture and wants to protect a real talent like Santon, rather than running the risk of destroying his career at St.James’ Park before it’s really got started.

We’ve seen it all before and thumbs up to Pardew for patching things up short-term with others filling in, as with Santon I think we have got a really top player on our hands for years to come, if he is handled right.