Xisco – All That Bad?
Back in 2008 when Xisco first joined Newcastle, if you told most Newcastle fans that Xisco’s career on Tyneside would finally get going on a cold October night against Stoke reserves in four years time, they would probably have laughed, but that could very much be the case.
The Spaniard who has a grand total of 10 Newcastle appearances to his name, on Monday night bagged a hat-trick in a strong looking performance. Now it may have only been a reserve match but would he have been involved at all if he wasn’t worth considering for the squad. It isn’t like he is a young player, our Xisco is at the ripe old age of 26 and could he have played himself into Pardew’s plans?
Our squad is a little bit stretched to say the least at the minute. With only Cisse, Ba and Shola as recognised strikers and as Cisse is struggling for form we are light on the ground, especially with our Europa League commitments, this could all lead to Xisco having a huge part to play.
Now I’m not suggesting one good reserve performance means Xisco starts, far from it. Could this though be the start of a path to redemption? Last season when Ranger was out in the wilderness he put in a good performance for the reserves and worked hard at his attitude and got back on the bench for a match against Blackburn away, he soon messed up again and was out of the picture but attitude hasn’t been Xisco’s issue, fitness has really.
His importance could come on nights like Thursday. The desire to rest the likes of Ba properly could mean Ameobi starting. Giving Ba the night off could now be a luxury we can afford, Xisco could deputise on the bench. If the performances of the likes of Campbell and Bigirimana have seen them gain Europa League spots, surely Xisco can get the same.
The thing that brings forward to me that Xisco has a chance, is if we compare his current situation to Ranger. The reserves are for two things, nurturing young talent and bringing first team players back to fitness or giving them game time. Xisco is not a young player so he must be in the plans somewhere. When you look at Ranger, who is nowhere even near the reserve picture because he isn’t going to play in the first team and then look at Xisco, he must be up for consideration.
Now for me the main issue with Xisco was always the stigma attached to him. His association with the events which led to Keegan’s demise, and the high wages and fee, has never done him any favours and he would have had to have been Sheareresque to get fan support but he wasn’t. He is an average centre forward, we all accept that but perhaps he is not a bad centre forward, maybe he is adequate.
If he’s willing to do a job though and is going to score goals, can we complain? Let’s give him his chance and hope he takes it with both hands.
He has never had the attitude issues of Ranger and he has scored goals in his career (mostly at a lower level than we are currently at yes) but if he is scoring goals can we really afford to leave him out? Could this be the biggest turn around in a Newcastle career since Nicky Butt?
Probably not, but if we get a couple of good performances out of him by the time his contract runs out in the Summer who would complain?
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