Striker Likely To Get First Start As Rafa Looks To The Future

Rafa has said he may change a winning team soon because he wants to give chances to other players as he looks to the future at Newcastle – well at least to the summer and next season.

We were expecting an unchanged team for the fifth time in succession at Everton, but it’s possible that Islam Slimani could replace Dwight Gayle up front, who we thought linked up well in the win against Arsenal last Sunday.

At some point, before the end of the season, we should also see the forgotten Mikel Merino given a start.

Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame are playing so well it’s been difficult for both Mikel and Isaac Hayden to get much playing time this year.

Islam Slimani – could get first start at Goodison Park

This is what Rafa said yesterday as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“Now is maybe the time that some players need to prove themselves,”

“So maybe I will make some changes to make sure that some players are given a chance to impress the staff and then think about their future.”

“Some players are playing for their futures. Some of them will finish their contract, and others will finish their loans.”

“We can talk about Martin Dubravka, Kenedy, and Slimani. “Whether they are doing well or not, we need to see.”

“We have an opinion on that, and maybe they want to extend their contracts, or go.” “We have to analyze every single case and then decide.”

“It is not easy for me now, because we’re winning,”

“I was not changing the team, because we are winning, so if I change now then people will say ‘oh, Rafa’s changing a winning team’.”

“Yes, but I want to make sure we are doing the right things also for the future.”

Newcastle fans are expecting a win on Monday night – and that would be terrific!

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Comments welcome.

5 comments so far

  • G

    Apr 21, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #1

    Hope the check up went well Ed?

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 21, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #2

    I would definitely start with Slimani on Monday night. Time’s running out and we need a good look at what he offers. From what I’ve seen so far he’s an upgrade on what we currently have. Nice assist on the Ritchie goal and he’s shown he has a decent touch and brain.
    We already know what Gayle offers. And Joselu. Now it’s Slimani’s chance to impress Rafa in a proper game. His cameo’s thus far have shown he has the ability to be a PL striker if he gets the chance.
    His chances at Leicester have been hindered by Vardy’s performances, but when called upon he’s produced. Unless he has a nightmare v Everton, I would be starting him in every game during the run in.
    For one, he needs game time and Rafa needs to see him in the heat of battle. And two, there’ll be no slacking off, intentional or otherwise. He won’t feel that the job’s done already because for him it’s just starting.
    Get him out there trying to convince Rafa and the fans that he’s what we need. A win win situation.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Apr 21, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #3

    Slimani to me is a clear upgrade on what we have he has to start. Still at 30 he could be worth the £20m brandied about. Though I think if we could loan him out for next season too that would suit us best and spend the money on a younger player.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Apr 21, 2018 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #4

    *bandied about

  • sphinxhunter

    Apr 22, 2018 at 3:32 AM

    Comment #5

    You end your article saying “Newcastle fans are expecting a win on Monday night – and that would be terrific!” but your entire article has been about how Rafa might just “…make some changes to make sure that some players are given a chance to impress the staff and then think about their future.” If Rafa changes his ‘wining team’ it is less likely that we will get a win on Monday night, but we might get an idea of what sort of squad we have and so be better prepared for recruiting what we need to have an even better season next year. Why would you make that last comment? Its like you weren’t listening to your own article!


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