Rafa Benitez talks up Yoshinori Muto ahead of Crystal Palace
Newcastle fans are still reserving judgement on Yoshinori Muto.
The Japanese international striker has only played 56 Premier League minutes so far, spread over four brief sub appearances, with not a lot to go on so far.
His one moment came against Cardiff, a run and cross winning the penalty which should have ensure three points in the last minute, only for Kenedy to fail from the penalty spot.
With Ayoze Perez being so poor, many Newcastle fans would rather take a chance on Yoshinori Muto.
Rafa Benitez may well be feeling the same way, speaking positively about the summer signing ahead of Palace.
The Newcastle boss says that Muto is definitely a striker and not a number ten but when using the player so far, Rafa says he has had to play him out of position in midfield.
Playing against four of last season’s top six has made it difficult to get on the front foot but maybe today, we will at last see a Rondon/Muto combination given a chance, with Palace a team that Newcastle have to look to take points off.
Making 48 Bundesliga starts (plus 18 from bench), Muto scored 20 league goals for Mainz.
He scored the goals at a rate of one every 221 minutes, working out at not too far off a goal every other 90 minutes.
Whilst Rondon will be the main hope, Newcastle have to get goals from plenty other places if they are to be comfortable this season.
Rafa Benitez believes that Yoshinori Muto is now adapting and looking better in training. The Newcastle manager isn’t one for throwing players in the deep end unlike previous ones we have had, just maybe it will pay longer-term benefits with this striker, hopefully starting today.
Rafa Benitez talking to BBC Newcastle:
“He (Yoshinori Muto) is not a number ten.
“He is a striker, he can play between the lines, more or less.
“But he (is) used to play(ing) as a striker and running behind defenders, or with a lot of mobility up front.
“He was unlucky in the first games because we had to change system and he had to play as a midfielder, an offensive midfielder.
“Not his job, but still, he did well.
“The understanding of the game, the physicality of English football, and to know the teammates, is something that takes time.
“But he’s there, he is very close.
“He is very close because he is doing very well in the training sessions too.”
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