Forgotten NUFC full-back Achraf Lazaar may have edged his way back into Rafa Benitez’s plans last night, with the Moroccan putting in what Lee Ryder described as a ‘dazzling display’ during the U-23’s 5-2 victory over Fulham last night.
That 26-year old looked all set to leave over the summer, with him coming close to joining Genoa in the final few days of August, however he’s since been training with the reserves after a return to Italy fell through at the 11th hour.
Despite being a Benitez signing, it’s been clear for a while that he’s NOT in the Spaniard’s plans – but he took a step towards forcing his way back into the fold last night.
He was brought on for the second half, yet came away with two assists – coming close from a free kick and putting several fine crosses into the box.
Here’s what Lee Ryder had to say about his performance after attending last night’s U-23 game at Whitley Park:
“Lazaar replaced Wilson for the second half as he appeared in a black and white shirt for the first time since July.
“Within a couple of minutes Lazaar put the ball into the box from the left wing, with Mo Sangare’s effort taking a deflection and rolling out for a corner.
“The former Palermo man then got free down the left and hooked a fine cross to the back post for Sorensen, but Jerome Opoku’s own goal made it 3-0 six minutes into the second half.
“Lazaar’s team-mates sprinted over to celebrate with him on his comeback game following his aborted move to Genoa in August.
“Moments later he fired a free-kick over the top of the bar as he tried to get back in his stride.
“The black and whites introduced Juanito straight after Fulham’s second, with the young Spaniard making an instant impact.
“Lazaar stormed forward down the left-wing again to put in a low cross for Juanito to tap home at the back post. With five minutes remaining Sorensen made a fine run into the box to connect with Juanito’s right-wing cross to extend the score to 5-2 and round off a good night’s work on Tyneside.”
Proving he can do it at U-23 level won’t suddenly convince Benitez that he’s up to it, but keeping in mind Dummett’s recent injury and our total lack of cover at left-back (with us failing to sign another once again over the summer), Rafa may just recall him.
He has now been given a squad number and was included in Benitez’s official Premier League squad list, so there’s hope for him yet.
Would you give him a chance?