21-year-old Mikel merino has been getting some good press in both Germany and Spain which are the two countries he played in before joining Newcastle initially on loan in the summer.
Since then Mikel has signed a five-year contract at the club, and his form has been excellent for us.
Unfortunately, he missed the game on Monday night at Burnley, and we were beaten 1-0, and while we played solidly we allowed a poor goal, and that turned out to be the difference between the sides.
Fans are still waiting for news on whether he can play on Saturday at home to Bournemouth.
But with a two-week International break coming up Rafa and the medics must be tempted to leave him out of the team, so his back has ample time to recover.
He’s seeing a specialist this week who will advise Newcastle on the best course of action.
Mikel Merino – after scoring the winner against Crystal Palace – YES!
Mikel has been starring for the Spanish U21 side, and he got an excellent write-up by Spanish football journalist Santi Zuza.
Zuza covers the CA Osasuna club among others in Spain.
Merino came through the ranks at Osasuna, and Santi Zuza has said this about the Newcastle midfielder in Sky Sports:
“I knew him from their Osasuna youth teams.”
“Normally when a player jumps a few age groups to the first team, he needs some time to adapt.”
“There aren’t many who immediately improve their level in that situation but that was the case with Mikel.”
“From making his debut in August 2014, Mikel became a genuine leader of the team in less than a year.”
“The second season was when he truly exploded and without him Osasuna wouldn’t have achieved promotion, that’s for sure.”
“Mikel has always been a player with enormous ability to organize the game, to slow things down when necessary.”
“Defensively he was very important to the team in central midfield but he also has a great sense of when to get into the box to score goals.”
“Let’s just say he is a very complete player, also good in the air and in a tactical sense.”
“He was a decisive player even though the move (to Dortmund) was finalized in the winter transfer window – it didn’t distract him; his football actually improved throughout the season.”
“He has a lot of room to keep progressing and he’s at a fantastic age for that. He is a very normal, humble person. He has kept those values and they translate on the pitch.”
Those are good words about Mikel who is already a very firm favorite on Tyneside with the Geordie fans.
And with his countryman, Rafa Benitez guiding him, Mikel has an excellent chance of becoming a top player for Newcastle United.
He’s a good player already!