Davide Santon starts at left-back as for the reserves this evening as he sets about trying to force his way into the first team equation at St James’ Park.
The Italian U21 International will be up against Swansea after recovering from a knee problem.
Santon arrived at the Toon during the summer transfer window in a £5.3m deal and has been forced to watch from the touchline as the Magpies maintained their unbeaten start to the season. A knee injury prompted concern that Santon’s lay off would perhaps be more long term, but having had the fluid drained from his knee his appearance for the ressies this evening has left me feeling hopeful that there will be no recurrance of the injury.
Looking ahead to the challenge of breaking into Alan Pardew’s unbeaten side, Santon commented: “I will give everything on the pitch and show that I am a good player. There are already good players here and I must show what I have first. But I am happy about the challenge that lies ahead. I want to show my character and be a great player for Newcastle.”
Evidently Santon has set himself the aim of breaking into our unbeaten Premier League side and he certainly is showing the right mentality with the above comments. He knows that it will be tough to break into this side but seems to relish the challenge it brings.
With performances from Ryan Taylor clearly showing that he is indeed capable of playing at left-back for us, it raises the question of when will Santon make his debut in a black and white shirt?
Perhaps we could integrate him into our Carling Cup game away to Blackburn if he makes a successful comeback in the reserves game tonight? Integrating him slowly into the side may be the best idea so that he can adjust to the English League?
The Italian can either play at left-back or right-back and on occasion appeared as a winger for Inter Milan. “I can play on the left or right,” stated Santon. “Obviously I am a defender, but I enjoy going forward! In time I want to be settled here. But I can enjoy life here at Newcastle and I am looking forward to playing in front of a packed house at St James’ Park as soon as I can”.
Santon clearly wants to experience the thrill of playing on the hallowed St James’ Park turf and with a player who enjoys going forward that may add another dimension to our attacking abilities. When his opportunity arises to make his first-team bow I’m sure he will grab it so that he can prove his ability.
If Santon finds it hard to make his way into the left-back slot could he perhaps vie for Danny Simpson’s right-back slot. The lad can play in either fullback positions and I don’t see Raylor being edged out of there anytime soon. Simpson’s performances have been hit and miss this year; this could be a possibility for the Italian to target this flank if he finds he can’t snatch the left-back position from Ryan Taylor. Then perhaps we could go for a left-back in the January transfer window? Or maybe even switch Ryan Taylor to right-back?
Who knows what will happen but it seems that Santon is ready to claw his way into our unbeaten side.
NUFC reserves: Rob Elliot, Jeff Henderson, Davide Santon, Paul Dummett, Tamas Kadar, Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid, Michael Richardson, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling (c), Nile Ranger.
Substitutes: Ole Soderberg, Stephen Folan, Greg McDermott, Bradden Inman, Yven Moyo.