Achraf Lazaar has been speaking to the Italian media.
The former Varese and Palermo player still seen a viable Serie A player by journalists in Italy.
With Paul Dummett coming back from international duty injured, a place in the team may have opened up and Achraf Lazaar says ‘I expect to be taken into consideration.’
Along with some of the young reserve team players, last week Lazaar was in training with the first team squad to make up the numbers due to those away with their countries.
Despite having been given a Premier League squad place when Rafa had to name his 25 players, it did look a case of simply being included due to nobody else around to make it up to a 25 man squad.
Three years ago tomorrow, Achraf Lazaar go an assist for Palermo’s goal as they drew 1-1 away at Lazio.
However, the Moroccan left-back is surely in dreamland if he thinks he will have any chance of playing against Burnley on Monday.
After only 36 minutes worth of sub appearances in the Championship season, Lazaar has never even sat on a Premier League bench, never mind got on the pitch.
Rafa Benitez didn’t even include the defender on the bench away at Forest in the League Cup.
With just one league start for the reserves this season and one as a substitute, Achraf Lazaar needs to be putting all his efforts into finding a new club, as there is zero chance of Rafa involving him with the first team.
Interviewed in October (see below), once again by Italian media, Achraf Lazaar insisted that a lot of Newcastle players want him in the first team. It would be pretty cruel if they said anything else.
Achraf Lazaar talking to TMW:
“I’m training hard and I also do some (extra) training to be ready and fit.
“I’m honest…I signed for Newcastle and I expect to be taken into consideration (for the NUFC first team).
“But football is like that and something wrong can happen.
“But you must continue to do your job by respecting the choices – do not give up.
“Then in January if a call comes in (from another club) I have to be ready.”
Achraf Lazaar speaking to Calciomercato last month (October):
How are you doing at Newcastle, what can you tell us about this first part of the season?
“It’s not a good moment for me, I arrived at Newcastle to show what I can do and to improve but things are going differently.
“Honestly, I am very sorry but I accept this situation, I am training with the second team and I play in the reserve championship. I delivered three assists in the last two games and the coach and his staff is really helping me. They know it’s not an easy situation for me and they are trying to help me.
“Sometimes I train on my own after the end of training sessions to improve my level, that’s the only thing I can do if I want to improve because I am not playing Premier League games.”
How is your relationship with Benitez?
“I spoke with my team-mates, they say he is fine. I am sorry the team is not doing well especially because a lot of my team-mates would like me to be part of the team.
“I usually speak with them but the only thing I can do is accept the situation. If this is his choice I can only respect it.”
Did he explain his decision?
“Not with me. He speaks with my agent Roberto De Fanti.
“I had other expectations when I arrived here but, as I said, Benitez has made a decision and I respect it.
“Now it’s up to me. I have to convince him.
“Being out from a manager’s plans is a new situation for me. Other managers used to tell me that I have the qualities to play in a big team, but with Benitez is not the same. I will work as hard as I can, doing my best to return to the team.”
Why do you think Benitez is snubbing you?
“I don’t know what his plans are. Whatever is the reason I respect it because he is a great manager and I can only learn from him.”
What’s your target? Do you want to play for the first team of Newcastle or leave in January?
“There is still time. My agent knows what he has to tell the club.
“Personally, I will work hard, every day, to be ready for everything. Whenever the manager will need me, I will have to be ready. I am fit, and I have been training hard to have even just half chance to prove Benitez that he was wrong.”
What about your relationship with Newcastle fans?
“Lots of them write to me on social media to tell me that they’d want to see me on the pitch, with the first team.
“It’s something that I really appreciate because I didn’t have much time to show my skills here in Newcastle.
“They haven’t seen the real Lazaar yet but they haven’t forgotten about me.”
What happens with Morocco now?
“The manager says he is sorry because I don’t deserve this situation.
“My team-mates, who are like brothers for me, are supporting me and are also sorry for what I am going through. I speak with many of them. Especially Benatia, he is always ready to support me when things are not going well. We are close friends.
“The coach can’t give me a call-up if I don’t play with my club but I hope to be back soon.”