He may have only been handed one start and two substitute appearance by Rafa Benitez so far, but I’ve been so unimpressed by Christian Atsu so far this season.
I don’t normally like to call out individuals for criticism, but it really feels to me like he needs a shake – especially when he came out this summer telling NUFC fans that he’d be better than ever this season having made a full recovery from a niggling knee injury.
He came off from the bench against Spurs and Man City and started the cup defeat to Nottingham Forest, but to say he failed to make any impact is an understatement.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to come in from the cold and suddenly find your best form when you’ve not been playing regularly, but it was his lack of urgency or energy that frustrated me.
An example in his short cameo on Saturday – his first contribution was to lose the ball cheaply in our own half, and when he received the ball just moments later he seemed so casual that he almost allowed the ball to run out of play on the byline.
He had a big chance to impress at Forest but nearly always went backwards, going missing for large parts and failing to make any bursts forward – despite one of his main assets being his pace.
I don’t know what’s up with him, but in a season where he said we’d see the best of him, he’s looked lethargic, uninterested and half asleep.
He comes across as a very decent bloke, does so much good for charity and has never complained when he’s struggled for game time, but he really needs to start taking his chances when given them.
We know he’s not going to set the Premier League alight, but there can be no excuses when it comes to effort levels – especially when you’re brought on from the bench.
Based on the tweets below, it seems quite a few NUFC fans haven’t been impressed either:
I will never know what Rafa sees in Atsu. Not seen anything from him this season to suggest he cares about the club. Just seems to stroll around the pitch giving the ball away #nufc
— James (@James_NUFC1892) September 1, 2018
Every time I’ve seen atsu this season he’s looked dreadful #nufc
— Matt Guest (@Guesty22) September 1, 2018
What the hell has actually happened to Atsu man!
— Dayle (@DayleBarron) September 1, 2018
Atsu having a mare since he came on. 2-1
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) September 1, 2018
Let’s hope we can see a lot more from him in the coming weeks.
He has the potential to be a handy impact sub, but he needs to show MUCH more when given the chance..