Former Newcastle United striker Mick Quinn has suggested that Aleksandar Mitrovic doesn’t deserve his place in the NUFC side as Rafa Benitez will know something we don’t when watching him in training every week, with Quinn also being convinced that he is not the best finisher at the club.
Writing in his column in The Chronicle this week, Quinn reacted to Benitez’s decision to resist playing the popular Serbian once again, but feels Rafa has every right to go against the fans demands, stating we must trust his decision – especially given he’ll see exactly what sort of condition Mitrovic is in when watching him in training every week:
“If Rafa Benitez doesn’t believe Aleksandar Mitrovic should be in his team, then I don’t believe Aleksandar Mitrovic should be in the Newcastle United team.
“I back Rafa’s judgement. The vast majority of the decisions he has made at St James’ Park so far have worked out for the best, so I trust him on this one.
“Remember, Rafa gets to see Aleksandar Mitrovic in training every day. We don’t.
“Perhaps Mitrovic isn’t training well. Perhaps he isn’t fit enough. Perhaps he isn’t doing what Benitez wants. Perhaps he doesn’t trust him. Perhaps he simply just doesn’t fancy him.”
Quinn then commented on the fact that missed chances are Newcastle’s biggest problem at the minute, but firmly believes Mitrovic is NOT the best finisher at the club, explaining why Dwight Gayle would always out-score the Serbian:
“Questions over his decision to leave Mitrovic out of the side will continue while Newcastle keeps missing chances. That is the problem at the moment.
“I would say this though: if you lined up Dwight Gayle and Mitrovic and asked them to take shots at goal, there is only one winner as far as I’m concerned.
“Gayle will always out-score Mitrovic when both are fully fit in my opinion – and I think it might be getting to the time where last season’s top scorer needs to be given a regular run out in the team again.”
Finally, he then discussed Joselu, a player he has not been overly impressed with, however he restates his belief that Mitrovic should be our third choice striker, welcoming the idea of Benitez opting to play Joselu and Gayle together in a 4-4-2 system:
“Joselu has had quite a few games now and he hasn’t really grasped the jersey. He works hard, but he hasn’t convinced me that he can be a regular Premier League goal-scorer.
“I have no problem with two up front though like Rafa opted for on Saturday; if he thinks that’ll bring more goals, I’ll happily see both Joselu and Gayle in the team.
“But I’m also happy if Rafa thinks Mitrovic doesn’t deserve a place in his team at the moment.
“When Newcastle are failing to score goals, people will always point to the fact Mitrovic is sitting on his backside on the bench rather than being given a run out.
“Rafa sees him every day in training though, and we don’t. I trust Rafa’s judgement on this one – and Mitrovic would only be my third-choice forward too.”
In fairness, Quinn isn’t wrong in what he says. I’m sure many would agree that Dwight Gayle is a better finisher than Mitrovic – but there’s more to it than that.
Rafa likes a big man up top, and whilst Joselu does work hard and put himself about, he’s done little to suggest he can be a goalscorer in the top flight.
Mitrovic hardly proved he’d be the man for the job last season – scoring just 4 Championship goals – but he did score 9 goals in his opening season in the Premier League, which is more than Gayle or Joselu have mustered in a top flight season.
There’s arguments to be had on both sides, but as Quinn says, it’s hard to go against Benitez’s judgement when he sees them in training each week?