It was good to see Salomon Rondon play the full game last Saturday even if the plan was for him to play only 70 minutes as he tries to get some match practice.
But with all of our three subs (Perez, Schar, and Ki) on after just 50 minutes that wasn’t possible and Matt Ritchie even had to play the last 15 or 20 minutes with a slight injury.
The 90 minutes against Watford will do Rondon the world of good and he has looked good in training this week too.
Rafa has talked about his top transfer target of last summer and why he thinks Newcastle fans have still to see the best of the Venezuelan International.
Apparently, the hierarchy at Newcastle wanted to sign some younger strikers but Rafa stuck to his guns and finally got Rondon – if only on loan.
Salomon Rondon in training
He was asked if he thinks Rondon can shine this afternoon against the Cherries and this is what he told the Chronicle:
“I think that he can do it, but it’s been quite difficult for him,”
“When he came, he was coming from injury. So then it was difficult for him because he’d been out for three weeks, which is a long time, especially during pre-season.
“After, when he picked up another injury, still we lost another five weeks.”
“It will be quite difficult for any player to recover from that, but especially a big player who needs more time to improve their match fitness.”
“I think it’s a question of time that he will get better and better. I think he will play better, for sure. When? Hopefully against Bournemouth.”
“We are talking about a big striker who is strong enough to hold the ball.”
“He’s decent with his feet and also has some mobility and can run, but we haven’t seen that enough yet.”
“He is quite good in the air at flicking the ball and winning headers, but in terms of holding the ball Rondon is maybe a little bit better than Joselu.”
“We have two different strikers so, even when we talk about two big strikers, they are different.”
“Rondon is quite a strong striker. He is not very tall, but he is quite strong. He uses his body really well, and that is the main thing.”
“I think it will benefit Rondon to have played for 90 minutes, even if it isn’t what we were planning before the Watford game.”
“His match fitness is still not ideal, and maybe we were expecting him to play just 70 minutes, or something like that, against Watford.”
“He had to play 90 minutes after the injuries we had, he was working very hard and giving us something different.”
“Then, during the week, he has been training – and, even though we thought he would be tired, he was doing really, really well.”
“With all that, I think it was only a good thing for him to have played 90 minutes last week, and hopefully we see that on Saturday.”
Salomon is on loan for the season as a swap with Dwight Gayle.
Gayle went on loan to West Brom to play in the Championship: Dwight has scored 8 Championship goals in 11 league appearances for the Baggies so far this season.
Rondon is also an option for Rafa to buy next summer – perhaps as a part exchange for Gayle.
But Rafa may also want to bring Dwight back to the club next summer.