It’s been a slow grind for Rafa Benitez in finding his best possible combination at Newcastle United this season.
In particular, the midfield has been a cause for concern with injuries and inconsistency plaguing the Magpies’ core. However, as they slowly find their rhythm under Benitez, some fairly unearthed gems in terms of the St. James’ Park support are shining through.
Ki Sung-Yueng is one who’s seized his opportunities in recent months, giving one bright performance after another in the heart of midfield. Recently against Southampton, he gave his best example of why the Spaniard should start to trust him next season, providing the former extends his stay on Tyneside. Indeed, Ki’s excellent ball distribution skills, ability to switch play and create chances make him a dynamic figure in midfield.
While the tenacious Isaac Hayden works harder, Ki’s more cunning with his movement and distribution. He also goes forward when it’s absolutely necessary and was robbed off a goal when his sweet strike struck the post during the weekend. The South Korean helps bring stability in midfield, allowing the Magpies to move around the ball in pressure scenarios.
In fact, he largely looks like a total upgrade on Mikel Merino, who proved hugely unreliable after a bright start in black and white.
He might not score or assist many, but Ki (who was picked up on a free transfer) does his job valiantly in midfield. He’s averaged 32.38 passes per game, 77% tackling success and 77 ball recoveries in 16 Premier League appearances this season (stats via Premier League), proving a reassuring figure in midfield.
With Hayden possibly leaving, Jonjo Shelvey’s future also in doubt and Mo Diame plagued with injuries, Ki’s vital to maintaining a rhythm in Newcastle’s midfield. Rafa Benitez has a dutiful player in his hands and shouldn’t make the mistake of axing him as well.
Newcastle fans, do you think Ki should start more games? Join the discussion by commenting below…
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience