Ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Blackburn, the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh has named Florian Lejeune, Jacob Murphy, Freddie Woodman, Achraf Lazaar, and Jamie Sterry as 5 players who could earn rare starts.
As far as the initial six are concerned, Lejeune is in a different category given he’s a former first-team regular who’s just coming back from injury, however the other four are players we have rarely seen start games under Rafa across 2018.
It’d be a potential opportunity to see if Lazaar really has got anything whatsoever to give for this club – a player who Rafa failed to include in his initial Premier League roster after struggling to sell him – whilst the likes of Woodman and Sterry could well be looking to impress ahead of potential loan moves to the Football League this month.
For Murphy it could be the perfect chance to show what he can do, as Rafa really may start to wonder when it is going to happen for him if he can’t cause a mid-table Championship side trouble.
Aarons is also back on Tyneside after returning from his loan spell with Slovan Liberec, but, in all honesty, I’m unsure if the likes of he or Lazaar will feature, as it seems clear to me that Rafa does NOT see either in his plans.