Despite playing just 99 minutes of Premier League football since November, Rafa Benitez has insisted that Yoshinori Muto is training ‘really well’ and could yet make a ‘big contribution’ over the next 12 games.
The Japanese striker has been away at the Asian Cup over the last month, but Benitez has confirmed that he’s now back, ‘happy’ and training ‘really well’.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say when speaking about the 26-year-old summer signing, suggesting he could get a surprise chance in the side once he’s fully recovered from his spell away from St James’ Park:
“Muto is back and he is happy to be here. It is another body for us.
“It’s not easy for any new player coming to the Premier League and play at the level people expect, but he is a worker and he’s very dynamic. He training really well.”
“Normally (after a tournament) they need some time to recover, but for us he is another addition. As soon as he has recovered fully he will make a big contribution.”
A recent piece I read in the Chronicle revealed that Muto’s taken a little longer than expected to learn English – something that’s said to have limited his game time due to his inability to understand instructions and communicate with teammates.
That said, he’s often looked quite lively, hard working and surprisingly quick whenever he’s featured this season.
He’ll do well to force his way into the side if a potential trio of Rondon, Almiron and Perez begin to combine well, but he could be a vital option for us in the final few months of the season – with him looking like a player who could operate either up top or out wide.