The match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur saw the introduction of Italian U21 international Davide Santon who finally made his Black and White bow in front of the home fans.
When I saw that he was coming on I thought the obvious thing to do would have been to swap him for Ryan Taylor.
This wasn’t the case however and Santon saw himself playing at right-back in place of Danny Simpson. Whilst the substitution was going on I noticed how annoyed Simpson was when he came off and I can understand that if you’ve felt you have put in a good shift and feel that you deserve to stay on. At the very least it shows that Simpson wants to play and won’t be happy with a spell on the bench.
Now although this is only the first time that we have seen Santon play for his he did venture forward at times and got several touches on the ball. Of course it will take a while for him to adjust to the way that the English game is played and I’m sure he will be given more chances to play for us to help build up his match fitness so that he will be able to last a whole game.
Could Simpson lose his place? The substitution to me sort of indicated that Alan Pardew has been very happy with the way that Ryan Taylor has played at left-back. Is it worth disrupting the left-side of the field? Raylor has made great links with Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini who play near and alongside him. Those partnerships could be disrupted if Raylor is shifted out of the team or over to right-back.
On the right-hand side there doesn’t seem to be the following links that there seems to be on the left side of the park. Is this Pardew’s thinking? As Raylor has proved to many that he is capable of putting in a shift for us at left-back.
Regular readers of my articles focussing on player’s performances may know that at times I have been critical of Simpson’s performances. I feel at times he drifts too far upfield and when the opposition breaks he doesn’t make the effort to track back as fast as he possibly could. There have been times when he has played very well but I’m not entirely convinced of Simpson’s basic defending abilities. I’m not saying we should drop him straight away but with the way that Raylor has been playing I think Simpson will find his place under threat from Santon.
Davide Santon will need time to integrate into our side and my feelings are that because he was asked to play at right-back the other day I think that will be where we may see him play in the near future. Could that then possibly allow us to invest a left-back? We can only dream but that could be a prospect that may arise if Santon does eventually end up playing at right-back.
Do you think Santon will take over from Simpson or was it just a one-off to get his debut out of the way?