There were hints that Javier Manquillo had more to offer than previously shown towards the end of last season. Rafa Benitez gave the 25-year-old a run of four games in April and May in place of DeAndre Yedlin.
Manquillo played very well in the right wing-back role. He carried that form through pre-season and looked like he would be first-choice for the coming campaign.
However, that lasted all of one week as he was dropped for new signing Emil Krafth in our second match at Norwich City. Javier came back against Brighton but didn’t play too well, however, it was a dismal team performance that no Magpie particularly shined in.
That seemed like it for Manquillo. He was out of the matchday squad for the next six matches. With his contract running out at the end of the season, it seemed like the curtains were being drawn on Javier’s Newcastle career.
However, the Spaniard had other plans. When DeAndre Yedlin went down with a hip injury after the Aston Villa loss, Bruce surprised everyone when he opted to bring in Manquillo over Emil Krafth, who seemed to be second choice.
Manquillo didn’t let this opportunity pass him by and has been one of our best players over the past five games. Steve Bruce has been delighted with his wing-back singling him out as his Man of the Match against Crystal Palace.
Bruce’s praise has not stopped there. The Chronicle have published the following comments from the head coach on the in-form Spaniard:
“It’s what you want. The most important thing when you come in is to try and evaluate what you’ve got in front of you.
“I thought he was unfortunate to come out of the team when I look at it. Again, it’s that competition. I’m delighted for him. He played really well. He was exceptional against Zaha.
“He did really well against Raheem Sterling a couple of weeks ago. Very quietly, pleasantly, he’s surprised me.
“I’m delighted for him. If he comes in and plays well, he deserves to stay in there. Emil’s been scratching his head, thinking ‘what’s happened’, and DeAndre not being fit has opened the door for Manquillo. He’s done very well.”
Manquillo’s form has been hard lines for Emil Krafth who has struggled so far in the Premier League. However, Bruce has to continue with the player who has been in scintillating form over the past month.
Yedlin came in against Manchester United in October after recovering from his groin injury and was outstanding up until the Aston Villa loss. It is a bit harsh on the American; however, his defensive liabilities will always be a problem, and Manquillo has been outstanding when up against some top wingers.
Long may it continue for Javier who is a model professional. Hopefully, he’s proven himself worthy of a new deal at Newcastle.
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