Injury plagued and expected to leave in the summer, Danny Guthrie is a player all but written off by most Newcastle fans as one with no future on Tyneside.
However, as Ryan Taylor proved at the start of the season and continues to as the weeks pass, Guthrie has surprised us all by showing he is far from a spent force with two really solid performances against Stoke and Everton in the absence of Cheik Tiote.
I think we were all worried when news came through that Tiote was set to miss these two games. With both sides being strong physical outfits the loss of Tiote spelled bad news for our central midfield but credit where it is due Danny Guthrie done a good job against Stoke and was one of our best players against Everton.
He was obviously never going to match the physical presence you get with Tiote but he brought something else to the table in a composure under pressure, ever willing to get on the ball, linking play and using the range of passing he would be known for to good effect.
I expected as much to be honest as Guthrie has always been a promising player on the ball. Granted he still exceeded expectations in that regard but what really impressed me was his off the ball work. Positionally he was very rarely caught out of position, protecting the defence through the middle and busting a gut to get back and cover full backs when needed.
Most impressive of all for me though was for someone i`d consider a nice footballer who may get dominated in two physical games he more than held his own. He got stuck in well and showed great maturity in a couple of professional fouls in both games, taking one for the team to stop some really dangerous counter attacks.
Obviously with the international break and hoping everyone is back fit for the Manchester City tie you would expect the centre of midfield will be restored to Tiote and Cabaye. Not many would argue a case for Guthrie to start with everyone fit as that pairing are better players and compliment each other perfectly.
That said I think Guthrie has put himself right back in the reckoning should either of those players be missing and seems to have leapfrogged both Gosling and Abeid in Alan Pardews mind as the go to replacement and maybe impact sub.
Pardew has recently said that he is looking to develop Abeid before January and The African Nations and saw him as the replacement for Tiote when the time comes, but with Guthries recent impressive performances it seems that standpoint may have changed.
Personally i`m glad. Although I do rate Abeid as an extremely promising young talent I think January may be a bit too soon for him to step into the rather sizeable boots of Tiote during his international absence. Guthrie may just take a bit of pressure off the young lad and allow us to use Abeid as an impact sub in those matches, which may suit him and us a lot more.
Dan Gosling is obviously chomping at the bit too and wants first team football sooner rather than later but going off first team appearances so far this season and being fairly anonymous when he came on against Everton I can kind of see where Pardew is coming from in not showing a huge amount of faith as yet.
Still at the relatively young age of 24, after a few seasons of frustration and constant injury problems, Danny Guthrie looks like he could come good this season. He seems to have matured as a player, making better decisions and playing some good football and once he keeps his performances to the level he has at Stoke and Everton, in my opinion deserves to be the number one choice behind Tiote and Cabaye.
The only concerns are, obviously whether he can stay fit, that remains to be seen. If so and he keeps playing well in the odd appearance or cameos, I think we may be running a slight risk of losing him being that he is on the last year of his contract.
What do you think? Should he be first choice replacement above Abeid and Gosling? Does he deserve a new contract? Is there anyone that would have him in the starting line-up above Tiote or Cabaye? Or maybe with both in a change of formation?