Emerging Newcastle Superstar Just Loves It On Tyneside

With the squad we ended up with on Thursday night, we don’t seem to have any established stars, but we do have some outstanding players in the squad.

Players like Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey to name a few.

And we also have younger players who are improving all the time like Isaac Hayden, DeAndre Yedlin and new boy Mikel Merino, who has looked a young star in the making already this season.

Mikel starred for the Spanish U21 side last week with a goal and an assist, and he could be the next big thing for Spain.

We hope he will be the next big thing for Spain – and for Newcastle.

And the good news is that he seems to love it at Newcastle, where he is being coached by Rafa Benitez – one of the very best in the business.

Mikel Merino – in Spain’s colors

The 21-year-old has been interviewed by GOAL in Spain, and we have selected some parts from that interview:

“It was a busy summer but I think that was the right decision. Newcastle made a bid for me and what a player wants is to feel loved and valued to demonstrate what he is capable of doing.”

“Newcastle gave me that.”

“The city is very nice, the team is great, the coach is one of the best there is, and I can learn a lot from him, so in the end it’s a place where I can learn a lot.”

“I wanted Rafa to be at Newcastle and it struck me that he trusted me. He is one of the best and I can learn a lot from him. He’s very meticulous, and takes everything into account.”

“He knows a lot about football and it’s something that comes in handy when you’re young and you’re still learning.”

“Little by little I’m getting physically ready for it. I’m not 100% yet but over time I’ll catch up with the level. And for now I am adapting to the speed and pace of the Premier League.”

“I’m starting to feel like a footballer again. I have been able to play in this season start and that is very important. I am happy.”

“The game against West Ham was good and proved that I can stand the 90 minutes. I was comfortable in the field and my teammates helped a lot.”

“Also the fact of having Spanish teammates makes the coexistence is even better.” “I really enjoyed it the other day and hopefully it stays that way.”

“People here are always 100% with the team. Always. I have been lucky because in all the clubs where I have played the fans were great – it was the same in Osasuna.”

“In Newcastle they are very united. It’s crazy what they do for the team and the players, really.”

Merino is on a season long loan deal at Newcastle and we have an option to buy him from Borrusia Dortmund for around £6M next year.

He seems worth every penny of that fee from what we’ve already seen of him.

The youngster also seems to have an excellent temperament and attitude – and all he wants to do is to improve as a footballer at Newcastle.

It will be interesting to see next summer if Rafa does leave Newcastle, whether Mikel elects to stay.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

264 comments so far

  • lochinvar

    Sep 3, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #1

    Positive vibes all round.
    Top team
    Top manager
    Top talent
    Top fans
    Top Toon

  • RolandoOverhead

    Sep 3, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #2

    Undoubted talent, getting better every game and an absolute steal once he’s played 20 games and we make his loan deal permanent.
    Though I’m concerned how Shelvey coming back into the team will effect his overall play.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #3

    Jak / carl /ian

    Jeez you are one patronising, creepy, jumped up little tw-t. All hail what you think and say…eh or what…!! Not be on your accredited bloggers list. Do us a favour. All your faux posturing and indignation is pathetic. Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot but not for me to point it out?

  • magspuggy

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #4


    Thats the latest i saw mate. The hmrc will 9/10 times settle out of court if it can. It wants the money owed and the loopholes closed. This is a lot bigger than nufc and i doubt they will do anything other than stop things happing again and claim back taxes. Hth.

  • Shadow_Shearer

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #5


    I wouldn’t worry about that. Im sure Benitez will tell shelvey adjust his passes to be more like Merino. So we should see Shelvey playing it on the floor more.

    Plus with Merino, Hayden and Shelvey, there will be plenty of games between them as 3 is not enough. Colback will be next in line but wont see alot of playing time because of the other 3.

  • Clematis

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #6

    There’s a canny few blog members who appear to be forensic accountants…..

    Do you know who can tell you how much Jack Colback earns? Jack Colback. Or his agent. Or the club. He didn’t leave as he has no interest in leaving the North-East. He said so himself. Hence, Wolves and Hull were non-starters. Sunlin couldn’t possibly afford him (if they would ever have him back) and Boro weren’t interested.

    And in regards to Mash, no-one will ever know what actually goes on his head or the club. In fact, the first we usually hear of signings is when they are on their way.

    Just try to enjoy being a supporter. Regardless of the naysayers and doom-mongers on here, we’ve got a very talented young squad that could genuinely make a dent in the top 10 under Rafa.

    Roll on Sunday!!! 🙂

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #7

    Doing some stuff in Ivory Coast at the moment. Watched them beat Gabon in a local bar yesterday and Doumbia scored two good goal, against a packed defence as well. They love him over here and don’t understand why we never gave him a run in the team. He has scored plenty of goals where ever he’s played.

    With regarde to things at home, we have to get behind Rafa and the team now and hope that someone comes in to buy the club. It does very much like an attempt to trim the squad and reduce out goings with a view to a sale. Fingers crossed.

  • Jib

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #8

    As a matter of interest Jack Colback often played left back at Sunderland and has played there on occasion for the Toon.

  • harryfred

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #9

    Hi i would like to make a comment on the current state of play at the toon.Since Ashley bought the club back in 2007 he has invested millions in the club.The mistakes he has made come down to some rank bad choices as manager.Can i clarify i am not an Ashley fan just trying to generate a balanced arguement.In his tv interview on sky he stated quite correctly that he couldnt compete with the likes of Man City United ect the other clubs in the premier league the likes of Watford Bournemouth West Ham ect all have a 1year

    head start on us with the sky money.We as a club now have to try and build on solid foundations not like Huddersfield AND Brighton who are throwing money around but are building on quicksand.Look at our squad there is strength in depth apart from 1 or 2 positions.If Rafa and Ashley can find a common ground and there is no reason why not then the future could well be exiting.

  • posada

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #10

    Just be a supporter if that makes you happy.
    Some folks like to think about what makes the football world work.
    Or the world in general for that matter.

    Also, many supporters were encouraged to believe they could own a piece of their club some years ago. They bought a few shares and were sent the annual report etc.
    Supporters Trust – Why have one if all we do is blindly support.

  • Jib

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #11

    I hope you meant the future could be exciting

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #12


    Well done for getting Kenedy off the incoming box, but you still have little Vern as going to Villa!!

    Sorry if I’m being picky but at least it’s a change from reading about the Grinch who ruined the transfer window.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #13

    If, Merino gets to 19 games and Rafa is told not play him, that’s when I’ll join the Lynch mobs!

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #14


    Yeah that was another strange signing, don’t think any of us had any idea if he was a good player or not. He did come in at a bad time though given the position we were in.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #15

    OK 3 in a row, how many more can I get in.

    How about me asking Ed to update the loan list, i.e Findlay to a Scottish team, Kilmarnock I think!!

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #16

    EGB…… He looked good yesterday, strong , quick, and a clinical finisher. Strange one as many on here had been singing his praises long before he came. His middle name is Methuselah mind.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #17

    Number 5

    Oh how I miss the days when clubs ‘had’ to rely on pure income from gates and possibly some merchandising sales.

    I know that the clubs directors were greedy so and so’s with players on £20 a week, but it seemed to be so much more simple then.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #18


    I know how easy it is to type the wrong word, done it often.

    But did you mean Exciting rather than exiting, given the current very chilly climate the latter could easily apply.

  • lukes26

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #19

    I don’t think Im upset with the summer transfers.

    Merino, Lejeune, Atsu and Joselu are all worthy of a starting place.

    Haven’t seen enough of Murphy yet.

    Bringing in 4 viable starting players is not too bad. Look at what Middlesbrough did last year, they spent big money on big names and never played like anything other than a relegation team.

    The squad we had was good enough to win the Championship. There’s a core to the team that has real quality. We don’t have a World Class striker, but those types of players don’t want to play for a newly promoted team.

    Don’t listen to the papers/angry mob. It’s not that bad

  • beermonkey

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #20

    swans away
    stoke home
    brighton away

    being the next 3 games what do we think we will get points wise from them I would like to say 9 but not sure we will take all 9
    2 wins an a draw would be good

  • harryfred

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #21

    Essex Geordie Bill youre right.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #22

    I’d resign Guiseppi Rossi for free.

  • geordieboy83

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #23

    Trying to put things into perspective a little bit. Our strongest 11 imo

    Now I think of the teams in and around us and I wonder in all honesty how many players from there strongest 11 would you say we’re an upgrade on our squad

    West Brom

    Might be putting a positive spin on it I don’t know but I look at them teams and there certainly ain’t many I can think of

  • YoungMag :P

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #24

    One thing is for certain though, Merino or Hayden shouldn’t be dropped for Shelvey.

    We don’t just look a better team going forward with Merino, but defensively we are solid with him and Hayden, I was so impressed with them both defensively. West ham didn’t have a sniff all game really because every ariel duel was won between them and also there tackles were spot on. Not to mention Merino picked all of the right passes after he won the ball aswell.

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    Comment #25

    Ahaha it doesn’t take long for fans to get over the shite they are put through and constant lies from regime. Is it any wonder why Ashley continues to take the piss!!

    I did say it wouldn’t take long for people to spout out the support the team mantra, the guy in charge of selecting the team and setting it up has told you that promises were broken, he was lied to, the project is dead. I can’t remember who it was but someone said we are spineless fans who will sit and take all kinds of bs….i’m beginning to think that person was right.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:20 PM

    Comment #26

    I’d take Glenn Murray from Brighton. Good player. Knockeart is class too.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #27

    Shaqiri, Oliver Burke, Tim Krul, The Palace defender from Ajax, Benteke, Townsend,

  • Jib

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #28

    Someone tell Ketsy the window is shut
    Bless his lil cotton socks he does try

  • Jib

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #29

    Our Toon
    Did you know the last time we won the League was 20 years before the creation of Pakistan ?

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #30

    Looking forward to the Swansea game now. Luckily our next match is against a very weak , pointless team. Hopefully we’ll give them sheepshaggers a good spanking and restore a bit of positivity to the ranks.

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:34 PM

    Comment #31

    OurToon…….. Don’t you get sick of whinging ?

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #32


    How is woodman our best keeper when he’s completely untested in the PL?

    I’ll have a go at your question starting with Palace:
    Sakho, van arnholt, zaha, benteke, Hennessey, Fosu Mensah, Loftus Cheek (no10), Townsend. I’m 50/50 on cabaye being better than Shelvey.

    West Brom, I don’t even know why they are on the list as they are head and shoulders above us both in terms how they play as a team and with recent individual stars coming in especially the lad from PSG.

    Stoke, Shawcross, Butland, Eric Pieters, Shakiri, Jese, Zouma. Border lines are Martins, wimmer and affellay.

    I think we are on par with Bournemouth and better than Brighton, Burnley and Huddersfield on paper, we have lost to Huddersfield though

  • Jack Root

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:37 PM

    Comment #33

    Rotonda/ our toon.

    There is clear evidence of your disillusionment but no such evidence of Rafa having such a mindset. Just stop your labelling of fans as pro Ashley or pro Benitez it’s not helpful and causes division between the majority of those on here whom are nufc fans first and foremost. It’s no wonder that football fans see us as being delusional.
    Just move on and stop sniping and whimpering.

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #34


    Don’t you get tired of lying to yourself pretending all will be well and this season Ashley has turned over a new leaf because he said so himself, only to be shafted again.

    Once bitten twice shy unless you are a toon fan like yourself who just buries his head in the sand in the hope all will be right in the end.

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #35


    You can just choose to ignore us and skip past the post, or is that a little to difficult for you to do?

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #36


    Rafa has already been on record about his disillusionment, promises broken, wanting more players, project finished and more. Do you actually listen to your manager when he responds to questions!!

  • geordieboy83

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #37

    Our toon

    I just believe woodman is the best of the lot, untested yeah but I’ve seen him numerous times and he’s class

    The reason West Brom are there is in my opinion I wouldn’t take many of there players. Yeah that lad from psg is class, Granted. Defence wise wouldn’t have any over ours, midfield wouldn’t other than psg lad.

    And same up top tbh.

    With palace we will have to agree to disagree on the majority of the players you mentioned, and I’ll be brutally honest I forgot stoke got Jesse and zouma.

    It’s early days but I don’t see much between loftus cheek and merino thus far

  • geordieboy83

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #38

    And the biggest advantage we have over any of them teams I mentioned, is our manager is head and shoulders above what they have. He’s not the messiah, granted, but he’s as close as we will get

  • Jack Root

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #39

    Our Toon
    During the previous five seasons only Burnley have secured an immediate return to the Premiership. I think we have a far better squad and spirit than lost premier status. Merino, Lejeune and Joselu look to be excellent signings but it’s early days yet.

    Clearly Benitez has a strong affection for the club and fans. I do feel that the clearing out of a number of players not rated by Benitez and the integration of his own signings will put us on a secure footing going forward.

    It certainly is far too soon to rush to judgment what with players coming back into the side. Early indications suggest we will be more or at SJP.

  • Our Toon

    Sep 3, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    Comment #40


    Maybe it makes sense for rafa to give woodman a go this season. Elliot is frustrating with his kicking and darlow is just championship standard.

    Merino is class but he plays a different role to Loftus Cheek. Loftus Cheek is better than Perez or Diame as a no10

    I’d take Evans from West Brom, Gibbs, don’t know enough about Hegazi but he’s a big lad. Phillips is another I’d take, Jay Rodriguez is better than Ayoze and just as flexible as he can play no10 or wide or as a forward. Rondon possibly and the PSG lad also Keeper Foster.

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