Ki Sung-yueng must have been surprised when he has played so few times up to now for the Newcastle first team.
He has played five games in all competitions for the Magpies including four in the league but Saturday’s performance when he came on in the second half was by far his best in a Newcastle shirt.
His beautiful free kick on 65 minutes was headed in by another sub – Ayoze Perez – for his first goal of the season.
Ayoze is now joint second top scorer behind Joselu who has two goals this season.
Ki has always looked an accomplished and experienced midfield player, and he was brought in as a free agent to replace Mikel Merino who joined Real Sociedad in the summer.
This is what Ki (shown above when he first signed for Newcastle) has said in the Chronicle today, and he never complained to Rafa about not being in the side:
“I had to go away with the national team and it is difficult because it is such a long way.”
“It is difficult to get yourself physically and mentally fit after playing for the national team then traveling back and not playing.”
“I was never worried I had made the wrong move (to Newcastle). I wasn’t that worried.”
“This is my seventh season in the Premier League, so I have experienced many things and I still have faith in my own qualities.”
“I believe in myself; yes it was a little bit difficult but I always knew that, given the chance, I could play in front of these fans.”
“The manager must like me now.” “He can see now how I can help the team. He saw my free-kicks and now I have to maintain it.”
“I never went to speak to the manager about my situation, I just waited for my chance. The manager always tells us it is better to work hard than to complain.”