Mikel Merino looks to have been an excellent buy for Newcastle, and we are hoping he can keep improving under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.
The 21-year-old still has a lot to learn, but he knows that, and he seems determined to become a much better player at Newcastle.
It’s almost certain that Mikel will make his loan deal from Borrusia Dortmund a permanent one and Rafa has already said that will not be a problem.
The Spanish U21 central midfielder is an excellent technical player and can play either the attacking role in midfield or as the holding midfielder.
Against Liverpool Rafa started both Shelvey and Merino in midfield and while there were times you could tell they hadn’t played much together the partnership showed tremendous promise.
We need Shelvey’s class, and that shows with his magnificent through ball to Joselu for the equalizing goal, and the pass split the Liverpool defense wide open.
This is what Merino said of his first start in the midfield with Shelvey, as reported in the Chronicle.
“I was comfortable with him, it worked well,”
“He wants to play the ball, he wants to help his team-mates whenever everyone is looking for a solution and the important thing is that we have won one incredible point.”
“It doesn’t matter who plays, I have been saying this all season, whoever plays will do a great job.”
“Liverpool were not an easy team to play against for the midfielders because of the way they play and press, but I think we did well.”
“We can play much better though against other teams.”
“It’s true that if you play with one team-mate or another, little things change because you have to adapt to the way your team-mate plays.”
“Maybe if you play with a more defensive team-mate you can go a little bit more, maybe if you play with Jonjo you can adapt a little bit and stay a little more.”
“Everyone is different but you just have to adapt – it’s easy to play with everyone.”
The midfielder knows he needs to control himself and not move forward too much when playing with Shelvey.
And we do have another up and coming midfielder in Isaac Hayden who can also play the holding midfield position.
It remains to be seen who will start at Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
That’s a game we can win at St Mary’s.