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Why Rafa Will Count On Every Player In Final 15 Games

It should come as no surprise to Newcastle fans that Rafa Benitez will continue to rotate his players in the last 15 vital games of the season, when we probably need 30 points to ensure automatic promotion.

Newcastle now have all their strikers back fit again after Dwight Gayle thankfully returned late in the game at Norwich on Tuesday night and is fully fit after his hamstring problem.

Rafa Benitez in training

And as with other players, Rafa will continue to use Gayle, Mitrovic and Murphy up front as the lone striker as Newcastle look for the goals that can get us promoted and back to the Premier League in May.

Each one of the three upfront men offer something different to the team – and Rafa has again this morning talked about what the lads offer.

This is some of that Rafa has said as reported in the Chronicle:

“Gayle could have started but Mitrovic was doing well.”

“To be fair before Gayle came on we were a threat in the air and winning second balls.”

“It’s important for the team because Gayle’s another type of striker.”

“We need players who can do well for the team. We have players who can hold the ball and be a target man and Gayle is somebody who can run and make his own chances and take them.”

“It’s good for the team.”

Dwight Gayle has already scored 20 Championship goals for us this season, but Mitro and Daryl Murphy can still end up heroes this season, if they get vital goals in games that finally gets us promoted.

That’s why Rafa always wants them ready and we have seen Daryl come into the team when needed and score 3 goals in 3 games, so we know both Mitro and the big Irishman are important players for the team.

We need every one of the players in the squad fit and ready when required – and then to do the job for the team when called on.

It’s as easy as that really.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

29 comments so far

  • Mag52

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #1


    It might go amazingly right.
    I suppose what puzzles me is that goalies tend to get treated differently from outfield players.
    I accept that Rafa will stick with Darlow until he picks up an injury, and only then will Elliott, our player of the year last year, get his opportunity.
    Whereas, following Mbemba’s booboo early in the season which cost us a goal, we haven’t seen him in the team ever since.


    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #2

    Elliott is barely an international mate and hes not really more experienced than Darlow

    Was Elliott our player of the season last year? Wouldnt of been in my top 5 tbh

  • Mag52

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #3


    I think he was, but on last year’s performances, that’s probably not saying a lot.

  • Bowjaw

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #4

    Can you seriously name 5 players that performed better than Elliot last season? I would struggle to.


    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #5

    U might be right mate I really dont know. Tbf keepers do often get stuff like that when u are getting hammered just because they have so much to do (not to stick the boot in but Sunderland tend to have their keeper as player of the season)

    I dont think much of Elliott personally, hes an average back up keeper worse than Harper was but better than no one…not a number 1 though


    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #6

    Townsend, Mbemba, Janmatt, Sissoko and Lascelles even throw Darlow in there (though admittedly the latter two didnt play much but their performances were atleast on par with Elliott)

  • hibbit

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #7

    WWSBRD / Mag52

    Elliott is what he is a good championship keeper and a decent backup prem keeper
    Darlow on the other hand is young does make the odd mistake which can be coached out of him
    is he good enough to be a first choice prem keeper only time will tell ????

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #8

    WW… doesn’t like Elliott btw, I for one think having a keeper of his experience quietly waiting in the wings was an excellent move by the club, I certainly wouldn’t drop Darlow on the strength of one blunder but would be more than happy for Elliott to step in, I wouldn’t shed a tear if Matz Sels disappeared back to Gunk or somewhere like that.


    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #9

    Jail is right I really dont rate Elliot…Id have him lower to mid championship at best if he was a number 1. I think hes a big reason why Krul stalled because he offered no competition what so ever

    Sels was out yesterday saying if he cant break into the team he will ask for a loan to another English team where he can build up to the level to be able to play for us in the future so I wouldnt want rid of him completely just yet has a good attitude


    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #10

    I dont dislike him though seems a nice enough bloke just not a good footballer

  • Jib

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #11

    Relegation caused NUFC to cancel their PotS awards.
    Jamaal Lascelles was the Ronnie Gill’s PotY

  • Mag52

    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #12


    Not so sure about the ‘only one blunder’ by Darlow.
    He made a big one a few weeks ago on the edge of his area before

    amazingly getting back across to block the shot coming in, and then there was the own goal by Clark when Darlow should have claimed the high ball. That cost us two points.
    It’s just that since the turn of the year he seems more fallible than he was earlier in the season.

  • Mag52

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #13


    Does he make more mistakes than Elliott is likely to make, and can we afford to put up with these mistakes in the run in to promotion while he gains experience ?

  • Jib

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #14

    When talking about a keepers performance the changes in personnel in front of him tend not to be coincidental.
    As a “for example” Darlows bloopers have occurred since Vurnon Anita’s injury.


    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #15

    Thats really harsh on Darlow. The Clark OG was as much Clarks fault as Darlows (it was a terrible header regardless of getting a shout) and the other one he saved the shot in the end then didnt let that get to him

    And as for Darlow gaining experience to catch up to Elliot he has played 11 league games less than him, Elliot is just older hes not better mate

    Darlow will save us more points than he costs us by a country mile

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #16

    Sels has proved a poor signing. The sooner Elliott is back the better. Oh no, I criticised the manager – despite praising him aswell yesterday. Is that ok Jail or are u offended now?

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #17

    WW, Darlow should have cleared out the Clark and won that ball or got it to safety IMO. Think Sky analyst felt same afterwards or next day, not that that necessarily matters


    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #18

    For Clarks OG?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #19

    Grow up Munster, I’ve said he’s pants many times, he was Belgian keeper of tge ffs.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #20

    The year

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #21

    Jailare you incapable of accepting any criticism of Rafa whatsoever. I fully explained why I like Rafa and why I have criticised him to Ibiza. Is this not acceptable or can you just not tolerate of the man you fawn after? Lets look at the first game v Fulham – we were poor, defensive, too worried about shape . And lost. I criticised the tactics and set up that day. Is that not fair – can a fan have an opinion? If Carver did same he would have been criticised. So can we not say boo to Rafa if we disagree with him – and still respect the good stuff he has done? Do you have an issue with that?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #22

    Like I’ve said many times before, every single post you make is having a pop at him, the Fulham game was down to that blockhead Mitro not being available and having no options to change things around and Fulham were one of the form teams for the first six or so games.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #23

    I think you’re developing a catchy like obsession with the guy, you wanted Pearson or Bruce you lunatic!

  • Jib

    Feb 16, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #24

    Someone is definitely obsessing.
    It’s not Munster however.

    Jail step forward

  • cyprus

    Feb 16, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #25

    It seems you are hinting that both types of CF have advantages…
    Hmm, so play them both, let’s see what happens.
    One of the two can be further back depending on situations.

  • Jib

    Feb 16, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #26

    Ritchie should be rested for the next two home games with Atsu replacing him.
    Matt did a fair impression of Mr Angry at Norwich.
    Bring him back suitably chastened for the Brighton game away and if he survives that without a yellow , Huddersfield away.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 16, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #27

    Judging by his interview last night Wenger could be thinking of retiring or moving on from Arsenal in the very near future!!!

  • Chancel My MBembaship

    Feb 16, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #28

    Does anyone think trying to get Joe Hart in the Summer might be worth a shot? I was disappointed when we didn’t ask for him as a part exchange for Shay a few years back when he went to Man City. Have Darlow as our backup with Woodman or Elliot as third choice. Move Krul (who I like) and Sels (who I like less) on.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 16, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #29


    No, no need Darlow will step up with no problem with Elliot and Woodman as 2nd and 3rd.

    I’m in the ‘let’s allow him a silly mistake camp.’ The Clark og was a bad deflection that can and does happen to every GK, no blame to either player for it.

    It’s a pity that we’ve managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory in the last two games, those 4 points would see us coasting to the title. Now we have to paddle just a bit harder.


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