Rafa Benitez has admitted that Newcastle United outcast Chancel Mbemba could be handed a chance to impress over the final weeks week of the season, after ‘training well’ following several months out of the Spaniard’s side.
The Congolese defender was very much a bit-part player over the first half of the season, often appearing at left-back to cover the injured Paul Dummett, however he is yet to play a single Premier League minute in 2018.
Not only that, the 23-year-old hasn’t even made a matchday squad since the turn of the year, with his last involvement (on the bench) being in the 0-0 draw with Brighton on December 30th at St James’ Park.
Here’s what Rafa has had to say on his current situation and the prospect of him playing a part over the final few weeks:
“He was training [on Friday] – and training well – but the problem sometimes is, when the team are winning and you already have, in this case, four players in this position, it’s not easy for everyone in these times.
“With five games left maybe he will have a chance. We will see. He’s training well.”
I’ll be honest, I saw Mbemba as one of the first players we’ll be looking to ship out this summer (a player of his ability/price tag won’t be settle for fourth choice much longer), but things could change if he makes a big impression.
He’s a talented young player and someone who seems to have never kicked up a fuss despite his severe lack of game time, so it would be great to see him take his chance over the final few weeks of the season.
That being said, he is still our fourth choice centre-back under Benitez and I’m not convinced that can change a great deal with so little of the season left.
We shall see how things pan out this summer, but it would be good to see him come in and give Benitez something to think about.