There was a pretty revealing article this week from the Chronicle looking at the departure of Jesus Gamez – a player who really failed to deliver during his two-year stint at St James’ Park.
When forced to work on a limited budget, there are gambles Rafa had to take in the transfer market and Gamez is one that certainly didn’t work out.
Without further adieu, here’s some of the key findings after reading Chris Waugh’s insightful piece on the Spaniard’s strange two-year stint at NUFC:
Rafa was doubting his references just weeks after he’d signed
Rafa banked on his Spanish connections and references before signing the fullback and thought he would be a real asset on the field. Apparently though it became clear quite early on that he wasn’t up to the pace and physicality of the English game – as highlighted by this telling quote in the piece:
“Within weeks of his arrival at Newcastle’s Benton Training Centre, however, eyebrows were being raised by some of United’s backroom staff and Benitez began to have reservations about the references he had received.”
The story reveals how Newcastle tried to flog last summer as a result, but the defender was content with his healthy pay packet in the North East and, in spite of his lack of first-team football, he was happy to stick around.
Injury issues – and separate training schedule as a result!
His cause was never helped by injury, having arrived off the back of issues with fitness at Atletico. As stated in the Chronicle, “Benitez was forced to alter the defender’s training schedule as Newcastle’s medical staff also changed the treatment he received in an attempt to get him fully fit”. That says it all really.
Hamstrings, groin strains – there always appeared to be niggling injuries that kept him out of actions for sustained periods, meaning he was rarely even able to make an appearance in the squad, never mind enjoy a run in the team.
He is one of the few players who has had a consistently poor injury record under Benitez.
Language barrier too difficult to overcome
The initial hope Rafa had was Gamez would come in as an experienced Spanish speaker who could help him translate his messages to the players, especially during a testing Championship campaign. Gamez didn’t learn English though and it became clear him being a mouthpiece in the dressing room was never going to materialise.
Local press were informed that he hadn’t grasped the language so wasn’t comfortable doing interviews; never mind helping on the pitch!
Wasn’t even trusted as a backup choice
Able to play both left and right back, he should have been an automatic option when both DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummett were injured early in the season, but even rarely used centre-back Chancel Mbemba sometimes featured at full-back ahead of Gamez.
A good performance at Swansea was not enough to persuade Rafa to keep him in the side and the poor form on Manquillo wasn’t even enough to earn Gamez a re-call (although there’s a good chance he wasn’t even fit enough to be selected).
— Jesús Gámez (@JesusGamez02) June 4, 2018
It is a signing that has just not worked out, but his exit (albeit it on a free) means a high earner of the wage bill and a chance for Rafa to bring in a more capable replacement.
In his defence, he always had a smile on his face and seems a very decent bloke, however it’s fair to say his two years on Tyneside will be as forgettable as any in recent history.
All the best Jesus!
(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)
About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.