According to the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh, Yoshinori Muto has failed to learn English as quickly as Rafa Benitez hoped – meaning he is struggling to fully grasp his tactics or communicate effectively with players on the pitch.
The 26-year-old has spent the last month at the Asian Cup, but is now on his way back to Tyneside after helping his country reach the final (which they lost 3-1 to Qatar in the end).
Here’s what Chris Waugh had to say about Muto’s lack of game time during the Chronicle’s latest Q&A yesterday:
‘One issue Muto has found since joining Newcastle is that learning English has proven to be a more laborious task than he expected; privately, Benitez had thought the Japanese forward would have been fluent by now but, while progress has been made, the striker is still struggling a little.
‘That has had a negative impact during matches, when Muto has struggled to communicate efficiently with his team-mates – while Benitez has also suspected on occasion that the forward has failed to grasp exactly what has been asked of him tactically due to the language barrier.’
Considering he was our most expensive buy of the summer and one of very few signings Rafa has made close to the £10m mark, it’s a surprise to see him make just a handful of starts over the season.
He has pace, looks sharp on and off the ball and real energy, but it seems he must work on his English to gain Rafa’s trust in the team.