Islam Slimani has not started a game for Newcastle yet, but in his two substitute appearances, he has done well and looked good.
Last time out he helped set up the winning goal for Matt Ritchie against Arsenal when he won a header on the edge of the penalty area.
Islam is also very willing to run, and he has some speed for a big man.
Rafa demands hard work in training and during games from every player, and it seems Islam is working his socks off to impress Rafa.
It also seems like the 6ft 3ins tall Algerian International is anxious to make the move to Newcastle a permanent one this summer.
Islam Slimani – desperate to play
This is what Rafa has said about him in the Chronicle:
“Still – Islam Slimani has a contract with his club – so it’s not that he’s under pressure to earn a move.”
“But if he’s happy here, then we want to see what he is capable of doing for us.”
“Every training session he is showing that he is desperate to play for us.”
“I think he is fit enough to start. He has been training well.”
“When a player is coming from the bench, you need to see ‘something’. ‘Something’ means at the very least he has to run.”
“If he’s doing well then much better but he has to run first and foremost and work hard for the team, and he did that.”
“He was fine (against Arsenal). We needed energy, and I think he has pace and he brought that.”
At the moment it’s touch and fo with Islam whether Rafa will make a bid for him this summer.
But the players know he has a massive chance to impress Rafa in the final five games of the season, and he wants to take that chance.
That will be good for him and good for Newcastle.