Yoshinori Muto must be getting closer to his first league start for Newcastle after Rafa Benitez spoke about him in an interview recently before the Crystal Palace game. Rafa spoke glowingly about Muto, how he is doing very well in training and is now getting used to playing with his teammates and the physicality of the Premier League.
Up to now Muto has only played 56 Premier League minutes for Newcastle spread out over four brief sub appearances but in each appearance has looked lively, with the high point for him so far coming in the away match against Cardiff, with a good run and cross from Muto setting up the foul from Cardiff that gives the penalty away. Unfortunately, Kenedy missed the penalty so Muto’s effort culminated to nought. What was on show in that small glimpse into the Japanese strikers' play was what he can offer Newcastle over the course of the season once he is given more game time.
He has been unlucky
Benitez has said that Muto has been unlucky so far in his sub appearances because each time he has been brought onto the pitch he has had to play in a position he is unfamiliar with; Rafa, however, has pointed out that he did well filling in in these positions. His willingness to run and harry opponents are evidently clear and that can be a huge benefit to the side as the season goes on.
Rafa made it clear that he isn’t a number ten, but is a striker that can play between the lines and run in behind defenders, this is something Newcastle have been lacking for some time now, and if he can bring that to the party then once he gets a shot at his regular position it is possible he could nail it down as his own.
Newcastle’s faltering forward line could give him an opportunity to gain a first-team spot
Newcastle’s faltering forward line could be a way into the side for Muto, up to now Newcastle has only managed to find the back of the net 4 times since the season began, although they have easily had the toughest start to the season in the league.
Because of Newcastle extremely difficult start to the season, the attacking players have barely seen the ball, and when they have got the ball they have been miles away from the opponents' box to cause any damage. For this reason, I believe that Rafa is still giving chances to the players he has started the season within the first team squad, but Rafa has shown over the years that if they aren’t performing he has no problems with replacing them. Muto will be chomping at the bit to get his chance, and if the forward line keeps faltering he has a massive chance of being able to retain a place in the side. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got given a chance next week against Leicester after the dismal display against Crystal Palace and at this rate he won’t have to do much to make a good impression on Rafa and the fans.