Ayoze Perez has his critics at Newcastle, but the lad has improved over the last two years under the tutelage of Rafa Benitez.
And before we criticize Ayoze too much let’s remember he was a bargain buy form Tenerife for €2M in the summer of 2014.
This season Rafa has had Perez play mostly in the number 10 roles where he works his socks off for the team and is often helping out in defense.
But he was the hero yesterday when he scored the only goal of the game against the Terriers after 80 minutes.
That was his 5th goal this season in all competitions.
Ayoze Perez – scoring the winning goal on Saturday
Perez started the move that led to the goal by beating a couple of men before putting the ball out to Christian Atsu on the right wing – who did well to get a good cross in.
Slimani then challenged the goalkeeper who could only palm the ball away to Kenedy.
The Brazilian quickly summed up the situation and laid the ball off to Perez who hit it into the back of the net first time with his right foot.
And the St. James’ Park crowd blew the roof off.
Rafa Benitez has been giving Ayoze some well deserved praise today as reported in the Chronicle:
“We have been talking that number 10 position for two seasons,”
“But to then have a player like him, some people are saying, he is too lightweight, and he gives the ball away.”
“But he plays in a position where he often has a lot of players around him and he has to do difficult things.”
“He has the movement and the understanding of the game.”
“And when we need something, for a player who plays between the lines of defense and midfield, he understands these things.”
“We do not have more (sic) players like that.”
“The fans expect the number ten to be able to dribble and score a lot of goals.”
“He sometimes gives the ball away but he always helps out in defense.”
“When you don’t have a player in that position who can do those things you expect, you need one who can help the team out in defense.”
“He’s clever and he is a hard worker. He just needs a bit of luck because he is always trying difficult things in that position.”
“He is trying to make the difference. Sometimes he gives the ball away, but sometimes he gets into great positions.”
Ayoze is an honest player who gives everything he’s got in games, and he has an abundance of skill.
He’s also said that feeling when he scored on Saturday was the best he’s had since being at Newcastle.
Things are looking up for the club, and we need to get as many points as we can from the final seven games of what has been a tough season.
Then Ashley needs to sell the club – quickly.