Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham has praised Salomon Rondon, saying his ability to run the channels, hold up the ball and play with his back to goal has been ‘pivotal’ to Rafa Benitez’s approach this season.
The former Stoke defender believes the striker is proving exactly he was the first name on Rafa’s transfer list over the summer, feeling his work both on and off the ball is crucial to the way we play – and I couldn’t agree more.
His goals have been vital – with him now bagging 5 goals and 2 assists in nine league starts and one cup cameo at Forest – but his all round play and work for the team has been second to none.
Here’s what Higginbotham has had to say about him today:
“Salomon Rondon was the first name on Rafa Benitez’s transfer list last summer. He eventually got the striker on loan from West Brom — and Rondon is now showing why Rafa wanted him so badly, as he is pivotal to their approach.
“It’s not just the goals, he helps Toon defensively as well. They have recently switched to a back three, or back five, and with Rondon have a striker who is comfortable leading the line on his own.
“He’s great with his back to goal, runs the channels and holds the ball up. You can see from his touch map, that he is all over the place and he provides the outlet.”
We were awful in the first half on Saturday, with Rondon barely getting a sniff, but he doesn’t give up and will keep on working for the team – something Mitrovic wouldn’t do when it wasn’t going his way.
With 5 goals and 2 assists already he has almost matched the tally Dwight Gayle managed in 35 appearances last season – and I get the feeling Rondon may only be getting started given he was not fully fit in his first few appearances for the club.