Newcastle United legend Malcolm Macdonald has criticised Christian Atsu following his ineffective start to the new season, claiming the Ghanaian ‘doesn’t know how to use his greatest asset’ – his pace.
Atsu has now overcome a long-term knee injury and promised fans that he would be a new player as a result, but his performances so far have seen him go backwards if anything.
He failed to impress in his only start away to Nottingham Forest and was highly unimpressive in substitute appearances against Spurs and Man City.
Here’ a snippet from his recent piece for The Chronicle:
“Atsu simply doesn’t know how to use his greatest asset, his pace.
“When you can run as quickly as him you should automatically knock any pass you receive 10 yards beyond the nearest defender and go. It then comes down to the player either fouling you or taking you on in a foot race he will almost certainly lose.
SuperMac also criticised both Atsu and Kenedy for their inability to protect Paul Dummett at left-back – stating Ritchie is the exact opposite, feeling he hasn’t seen a harder working winger than the Scottish international:
“As for Kenedy or Atsu helping out Dummett they simply don’t as a rule, which is why United need Matt Ritchie back as quickly as possible. I’ve hardly ever seen a winger work harder when he hasn’t got the ball.”
Personally, I think this is harsh on Kenedy – with him doing a very good job defensively prior to his dip in form over the last few weeks – however I totally agree regarding Atsu. Maybe it’s a confidence issue, but he needs to show more urgency and drive for me.
He seems a decent bloke, but he’s looks quite uninterested whenever we’ve seen him this season – looking lethargic and switched off when it comes to both his offensive and defensive work.
As Macdonald says, his pace is one of his greatest assets, however he’s not made enough attempts to use it. An example being the cup defeat to Forest, where he so often chose to turn inside and play the easy pass opposed to using his speed and running at his man.
Do you agree with SuperMac?