Ayoze Perez surprised a lot of us on Tuesday night at Loftus Road with his physical prowess up front – and it turns out the 23 year-old Spanish U-21 International has been bulking up again to meet the demands of the Championship.
Ayoze also scored our second goal and he took his opportunity very well for his 3rd goal of the season.
Ayoze Perez scoring on Tuesday night
Rafa Benitez doesn’t seem to have many doubts that Ayoze can do well in England’s second division and the youngster has enormous skills as he showed in putting away the chance he had at Loftus Road in the first half.
Rafa Benitez has today talked about his young countryman:
“He is stronger than he seems, but I can agree that physically to cope with the intensity of the Championship there was a question.”
“But he showed the other day that he can do it because he is clever, so when someone has quality and has clever movement, he doesn’t need to go and challenge and tackle every time.”
“Sometimes the cleverest players don’t tackle, they just go to the right places at the right time.”
“It’s quite difficult to keep sending the same message because I am telling the players: ‘You will be important for us’ and ‘You can be a key player for us’.”
“Some managers say that and after, they don’t play the players.” “I like to play my players, I like to give them the chance to perform, to do well.”
“Ayoze is doing well, but he has been working very hard – even when he has not been playing, he has been working very hard.”
“But it is the same with other players who are not playing at the moment.”
“I have to carry on with the same method, I have to continue telling them: ‘Keep working hard, you will play well’ or ‘You will have your chances’.”
“If they do that, they can perform.” “The problem with some players is if they don’t think they will have a chance, or they think ‘the other one is much better and I will not play’, when they have to play they are not ready.”
“It’s really important for us now to keep the players working hard, training well even when they don’t play – or especially when they don’t play.”
Ayoze has bulked up a lot since he first arrives over two years ago and he is becoming a better player under Rafa Benitez.
But that can also be said of the vast majority of the players Rafa is in charge of at the club.
That’s one reason he is a world-class manager – he gets the very best out of the players he has available.
And Rafa has some very good players available to him at Newcastle United these days as we witnessed on Tuesday night in west London.
Now he has to ensure they are all happy and are ready when they get their chance in the Newcastle first team – that’s one of the manager’s major challenges these days.