Yoan Gouffran reveals what happened when he went for a walk with Rafa Benitez
Yoan Gouffran has revealed that life changed for him when he went for a walk with Rafa Benitez.
The former Bordeaux player saying that after around 15 minutes of walking, Rafa turned to him and asked if he was up for playing.
Newcastle had lost the first two games of the season to Fulham and Huddersfield and the United boss wanted to change things, Gouffran confirming that he was ready to step up and play first team football again.
Rafa included him as a surprise selection in his team that won 4-1 against Reading and the player hasn’t looked back since.
One of the problems that Yoan Gouffran says has contributed to his struggles in the last year or two, is the fact that he was bought as a striker but has rarely had the chance to play there.
When he arrived in January 2013, Gouffran had scored 22 goals in last 51 Ligue 1 starts, a very decent return.
However, things hit rock bottom under Steve McClaren last season and the only two starts Gouffran got, summed up life for us all under the clueless former United boss.
Steve McClaren somehow thought it was a good idea to throw Yoan Gouffran in from nowhere to play in central midfield away at reigning title winners Manchester City. A partnership with Vurnon Anita had disaster written all over it and City scored six goals in rapid fashion to smash Newcastle.
Showing typical bad management, McClaren then ignored Gouffran for five months after having asked him to do a near impossible job. Shortly before Steve McClaren was sacked he once again gave the Frenchman a thankless task, throwing him into a totally demotivated team away at Stoke with a predictable 1-0 defeat following.
Now however, he has been given his chance by Rafa and is loving it, having decided he wanted to stay and try and get back into the team to help Newcastle return to the Premier League.
Yoan Gouffran declaring: “I wanted to show the people that I can play.”
Yoan Gouffran talking to today’s match programme v Wolves:
“After the two defeats, the manager wanted to change the team a bit…
“We walked one day for maybe 15 minutes and he asked me if I was ready to play and I said ‘yes, I am a professional. I am ready to play and want to play’.
“I work hard for the team. Sometimes people maybe cannot see that, but I work really hard to defend and to attack.
“It’s not natural to me. It’s not my position – I came here as a striker – but I will always work for the team and play where I need to and where I am asked to.
“Last year was very difficult for me as I didn’t play a lot. You train hard and sometimes you think you deserve to play – but it is the manager who makes the choices.
“Sometimes they were difficult to accept but you have to respect it because he is the manager.
“Then, when we changed the manager, I was injured, so it was not easy.
“I could have left the club but I decided to stay here and fight to play. I want to be here, I want to help the team and I want to help us get back into the Premier League.
“I am enjoying playing again because there have been some bad moments for me, for my family and for my friends – I wanted to show the people that I can play.”
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