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.
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