Mikel Merino is hoping to get the chance to play against Manchester City on Saturday.
Mikel Merino has of course made his feelings clear previously of the high regard he holds Rafa Benitez in – but tomorrow he hopes to be facing another two ‘important Spanish football icons’, in Guardiola and Silva.
The Under 21 midfielder admires them and accept that Manchester City are clearly the best team in the Premier League – but as he points out, Silva and his team-mates are ‘not superheroes’.
A draw at Palace (including fluffing chance to win it with late penalty) and a thrilling 4-3 loss at Anfield have shown they can be got at, whether Newcastle can trouble them remains to be seen.
The home game against Man City saw Mikel Merino on the bench after missing the win at West Ham with a knock. He came on for the final 13 minutes and Newcastle were the better team in those closing stages, missing a few chances to get the equaliser.
The centre of midfield has become impossible to predict as Rafa has played Shelvey, Diame, Hayden, Merino and even Saivet there, in the past four weeks, so interesting to see if Mikel Merino makes the cut, with Newcastle looking a lot better when the Spanish Under 21 player replaced Jonjo Shelvey in the closing stages against Swansea.
Shelvey certainly hasn’t been a superhero this season for Newcastle and whilst Rafa predictably dealt with it professionally and a minimum of fuss, the refusal of Jonjo Shelvey to shake his hand – on top of playing so poorly, could very well see Mikel Merino back in the starting 11.
“We know it is going to be a tough game against the best team in the league.
“They have been winning a lot of matches and are even stronger in Manchester.
“We are a solid team and we have our chances, they (Manchester City) are not Superheroes…it is 11 v 11.
“Every match is different, but the way they lost the last game (4-3 at Liverpool), and they almost tied against us at St James Park, makes us believe a little bit more.
“It’s such a big game against such a big club and such a big team, it doesn’t matter really the dynamic they have, we will approach it in the same way.
“It’s going to be a really big game for us, we are going to try to win all three points and we have clues of how to do it.
“They (Guardiola and Silva) are two of the most important football icons in Spain,
To see these kinds of players and managers play and coach is amazing. I’m going to try to do my best if I have the luck to play (against them), then we will see what happens.”