Yoshinori Muto is all the evidence you need.

Rafa Benitez keeping his head whilst all around him everybody loses theirs.

With Salomon Rondon struggling for fitness and then carrying an injury, plus Joselu and Perez hopeless, fans and media alike were asking why Yoshinori Muto wasn’t getting a game.

As always though, Rafa Benitez is playing the long game.

Without doubt, the likes of Pardew, Carver, McClaren and others, would have just thrown the Japanese striker straight into the team. Not Rafa though.

In the crazy world of Newcastle United, you end up with such unrealistic expectations put on a player such as Muto.

Even though he cost only £9.5m, a pittance for a first choice player expected to get goals these days, because he ends up as Newcastle’s biggest signing of the summer, fans naturally end up looking to the former Mainz striker as an answer to a desperate lack of goals.

Instead, Rafa has done it slowly slowly, Yoshinori Muto getting brief sub appearances in six of Newcastle’s seven opening PL matches, only 86 minutes in total.

He’d been in Russia for the World Cup and then only signed shortly before the season started, so no pre-season with his new team-mates.

Rafa could still have bowed to pressure and started him but that is where experience and expertise come in.

In his one previous start at Forest in the League Cup, you could see Muto wasn’t ready to start in the Premier League.

So many signings in the past, especially from overseas, have seen their Newcastle careers end before they have even really started. Thrown straight in when not ready, struggled, players low on confidence, fans maybe getting on their backs, and end up as liabilities.

Playing Yoshinori Muto just because Perez and Joselu had been hopeless, wouldn’t have been the right choice.

Instead, Rafa has waited his time, the end result being an excellent display by Muto at Old Trafford, an excellent goal and could ave had another, very good overall display, helped Perez play a bit better, and now he (Muto) will be bursting with confidence when taking  on Brighton in nine days time.

The opening fixtures were going to be hard enough for Newcastle without sacrificing the new signing as well for no reason, this run of games up to the new year sees only one game in 12 being against any of the ‘big six’, this is when we need a fully fit and focused Yoshinori Muto, amongst other things.

Yoshinori Muto after a goal but defeat at Manchester United:

“I would like to build my future from the goal at Manchester United.

“If I had missed this chance (to get a game), I couldn’t see when the next chance could come.

“I was really focused on grabbing a good result and I was confident that if I could start, then my motivation would be sky high, because we were against very strong opponents.

“As a result, scoring a goal against them has given me a lot more confidence.

“I should have scored another goal with a chance like that (a close in header straight at De Gea).

“That was the worst possible result for us (in the end).

“But we have to now stay focused on the future.”

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  • Steven05

    Good point 👍

  • Themoscow72

    Quote from the Sunday Sun ” Perez was the best outfield player by a mile “.
    His goals kept us up last season and will this.

    • Kneebotherm8


    • Ram Kishore

      But has been poor this season and inconsistent.. Seems like before the Manu match he went back to that self. Not the one we saw towards the end of last season.

      • He hasn’t been poor. You were not watching the matches, as most do. Perez is struggling because we were playing Joselu who doesn’t create any space for him to get close to scoring. The few chances we created when Shelvey was missing were all down to Perez who is still not playing in his natural position. He is miles better than anything we have as attacking midfielders and only Kenedy looks like he could give him a run for his money if he feels like it.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Muto shouldn’t be too hard on himself regarding the miss, it would have gone in against 99% of goalkeepers.

    • Yes, but that shows you his commitment and attitude. He doesn’t look at it as “I am fantastic, scoring against Man U in my first start” but more like “I could have scored more, I wanted to win”.

  • Leazes.

    He’s a signing for S*** D****t and nothing to do with Rafa!

    Advertising for the Ashley brand in Japan (Manure and Spuds do this too)….. largely 10 minute cameos. Product placement.

    The club bought him not Benitez who wasn’t even there to meet him when he arrived….what does that tell you?….He’s having players given to him!

    • NUFCDan

      Even if Rafa may have been interested in the player I’ve no doubt he was pretty far down his list and was probably only signed as he was the only one available for less than £10m.

      • Ram Kishore

        But he seems like a decent signing though. I always think that second third or fourth choice players will always be more similar in their abilities compared to the first choice.

    • Pretty sure Rafa was asked if he deems him good enough to bring. For Ki, I am pretty sure he was a advertising deal and probably never see him come on except cameos at the end of the match.

  • Philippines

    It is probably not just coincidence that Muto on the field allowed Perez to make an impression – Perez was scored 8 by the fans, I recall.

  • WasPardewsneighbor

    To Leazes
    Do u have proof that he isn’t Rafa’s signing?
    The fans forum maybe shambles but did they not mention Rafa wanted him in Jan.
    I probably think he may have been a cheaper alternative to Plea but I no doubt think he’s Rafa’s signing.
    Do u really think he was bought for Sports direct expansion into the Japanese market?
    Maybe it could help SD but if he turns out to be a good player for us, Nufc will benefit in the long run with a increase in loyal fan base even if Muto leaves the club.
    I appreciate and admire your comments on many occasions sometimes u seem to act like a person with an agenda or total moaning w..ker who doesn’t seem to have a open mind. Just a honest opinion pal.

    • Tony English

      He doesn’t have proof, and I think it’s a wee bit ignorant to say a player has been signed purely for marketing reasons ahead of their ability and professionalism.

      Man U? Shinji Kagawa was a decent player and never looked out of his depth there.

      Spurs? Japanese player? I presume he’s not talking about Kazuyuki Toda who played 4 games on loan in 2003 (thanks wiki) so he’s likely referring to Son, who is South Korean, and a very, very capable player.

      I don’t believe for one minute Rafa is having players forced on him, he’d probably do a Keegan and be off for breach of contract if that happened.


  • steve

    Albert Luque had a great debut against Man U so let’s reserve judgement.

  • Tony English

    Throwing a player in early, out of position, failing spectacularly?
    Three words…

  • With Rondon and Muto fully fit we need to focus on service and creating chances. Shelvey and Diame are struggling against a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation where the center is a bit crowded. We need a better dynamo in midfield, somebody with pace and lots of movement who can help with the transition to attack. Rafa always fancied Hayden for that part as the lad has pace and stamina but he doesn’t look up to it. Ki was brought and looks tidy in possession but Stamina and pace is lacking. We need a box-to-box midfielder in January, attacking left back and 100% a pacey right winger who can cut inside and shoot. We should be scoring much more goals from midfield to ease our strikers a bit.

  • Phil Yare

    maybe its because hes 7th choice striker for japan