There were a few key points to pick out from Wednesday night’s pre-season victory at Bradford City.

New summer signing Jacob Murphy netting a brace took all the headlines, however the performance of Rolando Aarons was one that stood out.

Aarons missed all but 77 minutes of last season’s championship winning campaign, thanks mainly to an ACL injury, but now he is back in training and looking sharp during pre-season.

With half an hour left against Bradford, Aarons was one of six substitutes brought onto the field, as Rafa Benitez felt the need to give everyone some crucial minutes under their belt, at Valley Parade.

From the moment he stepped out onto the pitch he was a menace to the Bradford defence and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact.

A superb burst of speed to get away from Tony McMahon and an impressive cross picked out Aleksandar Mitrovic, who diverted the ball home to put United 3-0 up.

The combination of Aarons’ crossing ability and the aerial threat of Mitrovic will be something Benitez looks towards ahead of the Premier League campaign.

His constant short sprints down the left wing were impressive on the eye of the travelling Toon Army, and it proved too much for the Bantams once again, as his cross was subsequently turned in by Murphy to round off an emphatic night for the Magpies.

Despite the sparkling performance from the 21 year old, keeping fit throughout the season will be the main concern, as Aarons has caught the eye during previous pre-season friendlies in the past few campaigns, yet failed to deliver when the season begins.

So far, this summer Newcastle have brought in Christian Atsu as well as Jacob Murphy to add pace to the flanks, however Atsu’s final ball is something that lets him down, and one which Aarons possesses.

Another noticeable attribute that was evident last night, was Aarons’ strength on and off the ball.

This is something the youngster must have been working on, as before his injury, his ability to win and hold onto the ball let him down.

Last night he held his man off on a number of occasions, leading to him being fouled and winning free-kicks in dangerous positions.

The youngster had been training by himself over the summer to get up to up full fitness, ahead of back training with the squad and preparing for the new season.

When fit, no one can argue with the quality Rolando Aarons brings to the table.

In limited game time…he caught the eye of everyone at St James Park in his second premier league game, netting in a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace.

His goal in the League cup against Man City was also a highlight, and without his injuries holding him back, who knows what he would have achieved.

We must not forget he’s only twenty one and has his whole career still ahead of him.

Next season is massive for Aarons’ career.

If he can stay out of the treatment room, then there is a hope that he will make a massive impact on the pitch.

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



  • When fit Aarons is as good as Sterling if not better!

    • Paul Busby

      How on earth can you possibly make that claim?
      He’s barely been on the pitch at the top level, he’s got potential, that’s all we know right now.

    • TC Toon Army

      If he was as good as sterling he would have been sold already

      • If he stayed fit, probably he would have been.

    • Wor Lass

      As long as he`s not as good as Sterling was in the Euros!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    he`s a talented lad ok, lets hope he stays injury free.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      What’s the point of being a footballer if you don’t go to nightclubs?

      • Whitehurst

        It’s a pre-requisite for all footballers….that and a bit of a punch-up as well!!

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          As Billy Whitehust’s rep on here, Billy liked a punch up more than chasing women

          • Whitehurst

            Indeed….bare knuckle pit fighting with gypsies!! Old skool footballers rule!!

      • Kneebotherm8

        It’s ok footballers going to nightclubs as long as they don’t take their aunties with them.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I’ve never seen the point of professional footballers getting married etc, they have all their lives to settle down, they have 8 years max of being able to click their fingers etc etc. I remember proper players, Ginola & Tino in the clubs, proper players

    • Down Under Mag

      Meh…as long as they stay injury free, out of jail and do the business on the pitch then I don’t care what they do in their own time!

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        he well end up in jail thats the whole point

        • Mark Davies

          Fancy a bet on that to55pot?

  • GToon

    Aye, good luck to him.

  • TheFatController

    Am I remembering correctly that Pardew played him at Man city against doctor’s advice, congratulated himself afterwards that he got the call to play him right given he scored early, completely ignoring that he went off just after half time injured and hasn’t been full fit since …?

    I know we shouldn’t Pardew bash, big for me that ‘claim genius that wasn’t even yours to claim whilst ignoring the negatives’ sums up his time in charge…

    Thankfully Rafa protects players coming back from injury.

    I wouldn’t mind but having beaten City by playing a player not advised to be played by the club doctor, it all paid off as we got battered at Spurs next round …

    • Whitehurst

      Seem to remember Pardew playing him at left back a couple of times?! 😳🤔 Pretty much says it all!!

      • TheFatController

        Wasn’t that MacLaren at Chelsea too – because you always play a 20 year old winger at left back at Chelsea…toughens them up!

        • Jimblag23

          You’re right, I’m pretty sure you read that from John Carvers book, Coaching for Dummies by a Dummie.

    • Wor Lass

      He played de Jong when he wasn`t fully recovered from a soft tissue injury, which seet him back. Can`t blame him or the punctured lung or the poke in the eye, though (unless it was him that poked him, of course – quite possible!).

    • Alan Pardew

      Yes, I was advised not to but he did a little bit yesterday in training that I thought warranted him forty five minutes.

  • Paul Patterson

    He’s a young lad and good luck to him, but let’s not pin all our hopes on him to deliver.

  • Whitehurst

    Good article. Pretty much sums it up!! Was at last night’s game and as he was on the left wing near the away section….you got an “upfront & personal” view of him. I knew he was a speed merchant, but I didn’t actually realise how quick he was until last night!! 🏃‍♀️💨 Jesus he’s fast!! Add the fact that he possesses the rare commodity of decent delivery, then you can boast of being a cracking player. Yes I know it was against a Div 1 team, but their right back looked sea sick!! If he stays fit, then I’m deffo pitching my tent firmly in the “could be better than Sterling” camp. Alas there lies the problem….his injury record is shocking. Makes De Jong look like a 38 game season ever present!!

  • hetonmag

    Let’s hope the boy gets back to his best because Pardew very nearly destroyed the kids playing career.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Why play a naturally offensive player,like him ,at left back? McLaren did the same. If we’re a team on the offensive all the time then you can get away with it,if not then he’s exposed defensively as happened at Chelsea last season.

    • Andy Mac

      Pardewed ? Never heard of such a thing ?

  • Alreet

    On his day he turned the manc defence into a shower. He has a wicked cross like the ginolas and solanos of old. Stay fit lad and get raiding them wings again

  • Down Under Mag

    He has pace, can beat players with the ball and has actually got a good cross on him, just needs to get rid of the injuries and nursed through the early part of the season to make sure he doesn’t break down again. Could make a real difference BUT as Paul says below, let’s not put all our premiership survival hopes and pressures on his shoulders alone!

  • Kev-82

    I’d love to see the lad stay fit, but the reality is that not many footballers recover from the amount of injuries he has had, hopefully he can be the exception.

  • Leazes Ender

    Where is Charlie Fried Bananas?

    • Andy Mac

      A question on everyone’s lips !

  • Andy Mac

    Reading an article about Merino suggesting Rafa’s brought him to the club because he’s an intelligent player. Aarons lacks that “match intelligence” but presumably Rafa and his boys are helping him achieve it ?

    ATM he’s, at best, a bench warmer in the PL. It’s up to him if he moves up the scale from that.