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.

Ayoze Perez:

“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.”

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Mrkgw

    Under the guidance of Benitez, he might well improve. Consistency has been lacking with Perez but he certainly has ability when he applies himself.

  • Paul Busby

    As with many players we seem to be landed with (inc. Mitro), he needs a squad to be built with him, in his particular position, in mind. Unfortunately all of these individual positions don’t result in complete team that actually really works.

    Perez has a lot of talent with the ball at his feet and a fantastic eye for goal (when his eyes arent actually on the goal), but if you dont have him playing next to a true box to box attacking midfielder, with him as a false 9, you end up with big gaps in the pitch that can be exploited.

  • Rich Lawson

    No !

  • TheNutJob

    I dread seeing the name SloMo Diame.
    it`s a make or break season for Perez

    • 1957

      You, me and thousands of others who watched his inept efforts last year.

      SloMo will be there in the match day squad at the beginning of the season, he is a Benitez favourite there can be no other reason he started so many games last season.

  • NUFCDan

    Really like him and want him to succeed as he seems like a genuinely great guy – on his days he’s one of those players who I get excited when I see them on the ball but I just don’t see what position he’s going to play. If he played in Spain or Italy where the pace of the game is a bit slower I’ve no doubt he’d make a good central midfielder but in the PL he doesn’t influence play enough to be an effective 10, isn’t strong or quick enough to play central mid, he doesn’t have the presence in the box to be a lone striker and he seems to go missing when played out of position on the wing.

    • Mal

      ”…in the PL he doesn’t influence play enough to be an effective 10, isn’t strong or quick enough to play central mid, he doesn’t have the presence in the box to be a lone striker and he seems to go missing when played out of position on the wing.”
      But you really like him? :-)

  • Wor Monga

    Who exactly were the many fans that expected Ayoze and Mitro to ‘smash’ the Championship?…must have been overseas (or Mag muppets) cos I never met any here…most who knew what the situation was really like thought our whole team would take a long time to get to grips with the more physical side of the
    game…that’s why Rafa went out to sign players who had some recent experience of it (Ritchie, Diame, Hanley)…

    Mitro was banned from the first 4 games, and it didn’t look like he would do much better with the much inferior standard of refereeing, and there isn’t much faith placed on intricate movement and ball playing lightweights when they’re going twice a week against crunchers on bog standard pitches…

    …Other clubs had saw what Ayoze could do in the PL, and were impressed, and not one Toon supporter at the time blamed him for the way things went either so why should he not be good enough for that league now, as for Mitro he’s a Geordie cult hero, and we love him, but with the reputation he has the jury is out on whether he’ll ever be good enough at any level of the English game!!!

  • Peter Stabler

    Loads of skill and intelligence but no explosive pace off the mark. I see him doing the little steps like sprinters do but he doesn’t move over the ground like he needs to.

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    I always hoped Perez, Mitro and Mbemba would make good and form the backbone of a decent side. So much talent between the 3. And It’s clear that Perez and Mitro love being in black and white. Now It’s looking like a make or break season for all of them.

  • TC Toon Army

    If he’s stays consistent when started or on off the bench this season I think he’ll do alright. Got a lot to bring to a game. Think he just needs to do more of it. Mito didn’t compare to Perez last season and that says enough for me.

  • Stephen Paylor

    Big pressure assuming no new signings on the options for number 10. Diame and Perez switched it between them last year but with De Jong back this time i think De Jong (when fit) is a far better player than both of them. We really need De Jong or Perez to step up this year.

  • Blackburn1066


  • I believe Perez has really matured as a player and physically. Not a number 10 definitely, but still as sharp as ever and can definitely be used as a super-sub or main option, due to his natural Goal Poaching skills.

  • Cuh736

    Can Rob Elliot do it in the premier league?

    • Taz


  • Albert Stubbins

    No better than Tom Huddlestone- give any decent player time and space and he will hurt you- to create that time and space you need to be strong and quick- Perez is neither. That’s why he can look good against the odd championship side but no where near premier league quality in my opinion- would do better in la ligue possibly. Expect the same comments about him after the first half dozen games if he doesnt get sold- a liability.