FIVE Newcastle players who impressed me most during last night’s 2-1 win over Hearts

Rafa Benitez’s men opened their 2017 pre-season programme with a win last night, seeing off Ian Cathro’s Hearts by 2 goals to 1 at Tynecastle.

Here’s FIVE players who stood out for me during last night’s promising display:

1. Siem De Jong

The Dutchman was deployed in the number 10 role and instantly struck up a partnership with Dwight Gayle, with a sharp turn and pin point through-ball putting the NUFC number 9 in behind to give us a lead within the opening 3 minutes.

Admittedly, he faded slightly as the game drew to a close, but his first half display was particularly impressive, showing some classy touches, composed link play and threat in and around the box.

2. Rolando Aarons

After a torrid spell of injuries and frustration on the sidelines, Rolando Aarons looked raring to go and put in a lively first half display.

He linked up with Haidara well down the left, struck the woodwork twice and worked tirelessly. Aarons has undoubted spark and, like De Jong, it could prove to be a real boost if he could stay fit this season.

3. Dwight Gayle

Three minutes in and Gayle had already made a well timed run and showed no signs of rustiness as bared down on goal and clinically slotted past the on-rushing Hearts goalkeeper.

He was one step ahead of the entire Hearts back-line and looked razor sharp, developing what appeared to be a very promising understanding with Siem De Jong – who fed him on several times from the number 10 role:

4. Jonjo Shelvey

The midfield maestro stated recently that he is in the best shape he’s ever been in ahead of a Premier League season and the signs were there for all to see, looking fit and lean as he effortlessly pulled the strings in the first half.

His set piece delivery also caused Hearts all sorts of problems, laying on the assist for Dwight Gayle’s second:

5. Florian Lejeune

Newcastle’s new £8.7m centre-back made his United debut during difficult second half conditions in the pouring rain but made a good impression. He was strong defensively, standing up well to their physical threat, looked comfortable on the ball and showed a real aerial threat in both boxes, almost getting on the scoresheet on two occasions.

A promising start for the 6ft 3′ Frenchman:

Honourable mentions:

Mo Diame – The Senegalese midfielder looked rejuvenated. Showed renewed confidence in possession with some impressive passing and powerful running. Good to see after a season well below his best last time out.

Rob Elliot – Made a terrific double save in the first-half, giving Rafa more reason to reconsider whether he needs a new number one or not.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

One thought on “FIVE Newcastle players who impressed me most during last night’s 2-1 win over Hearts

  1. Good start to pre season ,players looking fit, Sharp and up for it . The one worrying thing was the silence from Rafa after the game . No interviews even too the clubs prefered media , i would of expected something from him after first pre season game .


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