It is six months since Aleksandar Mitrovic started a league game for Newcastle and as it stands, it could be another four months before he is selected to start a match of any description for club or country.
The striker got 19 minutes on Saturday but it was a hopeless cause with Newcastle already well beaten.
In total that is 50 Premier League minutes this season, not ideal for somebody hoping to make a big impression in Russia next summer.
Aleksandar Mitrovic insists he is still ‘patient’ but that ‘patience is almost to the end’.
Having scored six in the qualification group and having notched nine goals in his last 11 games for Serbia, for Newcastle’s number 45 the situation is clear: ‘It (the World Cup) is a big thing for the whole country…If I want to be ready, I have to play games and to be on the pitch scoring goals.’
The only Newcastle game he has started this season was when he scored in the League Cup defeat to Forest and it is very likely that if he stays at St James Park, only the FA Cup will offer hope of being in the starting 11.
By now everybody must accept that Rafa Benitez doesn’t want to play Mitrovic under any circumstances and it appears that attempts to move him on in the summer were blocked, by the Newcastle hierarchy refusing to take a big hit on the £13m/£14m they paid two and a half years ago.
Any FA Cup involvement would probably be fleeting as well, very difficult to see Newcastle in any kind of position where they can make it a priority with Premier League survival so important.
If Rafa Benitez had been given total freedom in the summer to wheel and deal (as well as a more realistic budget), then Aleksandar Mitrovic would surely have been moved on by now.
The fact that he isn’t playing regular football for a different club and Rafa wasn’t able to bring in the kind of quality striker he needed, is hopefully one of the final hangovers from the failed Mike Ashley transfer agenda and overall running of the club.
Aleksandar Mitrovic speaking to the Chronicle and Shields Gazette:
“I’m patient but we will see.
“My patience is almost to the end, so we will see.
“I want to play, I want to be on the pitch, I’m patient, but we will see.
“It (the World Cup) is a big thing for the whole country, for all the Serbian players, for my family and for all people in Serbia.
“If you want to do something there, you have to be ready.
“If I want to be ready, I have to play games and to be on the pitch scoring goals.
“This (the support of Newcastle fans) is what’s keeping me alive…
“Since the beginning, I don’t know why, but we have had a really amazing relationship. I love them, they love me.
“Newcastle is in my heart and even if I maybe go somewhere else, Newcastle will still be in my heart.
“I hope I will stay here but we will see what happens. I will always be a Newcastle United fan all my life.
“With big teams like Manchester United, if you don’t score your chances they will punish you.
“They did that and scored two goals (late in first half) and in the second half they finished the game.
“This (Manchester United) is a big team, one of the best on the world.
“They have the best players in the world, so they will use every chance and punish you.”