After failing to start a Premier League game for over 6 weeks and falling down Rafa Benitez’s pecking order, yesterday’s friendly was both a rare and huge chance for Kenedy to stake his claim.
If it was an audition to show Rafa why he is good enough to play in this team, he failed it miserably on so many fronts.
Firstly, within the opening few moments he demonstrated just how poor his final ball has become. He had acres of space, struggled to control the ball, but when he finally did his simple pass into Rondon was horribly over hit.
Then, just moments later, the ball fell to him in a good area about 30 yards from goal. Instead of get it under control and slip in Rondon, he smashed as speculative shot way over the bar – clearing the 30ft fence behind it!
Between then and his next incident he must have lost the ball cheaply more times than he made simple passes, only for him to then try and lob the goalkeeper with a first time shot from over 40 yards out:
He ‘tries things’ and shot on sight – something too few Newcastle players do at times – but it’s as if he thinks he’s going to impress Rafa by doing the extraordinary.
As we’ve seen with Shelvey when he’s been playing at his best in black and white, Benitez will prefer it if a player plays the percentages, keeps the ball and does his job in the team – where as Kenedy seems like a kid in a playground trying to impress his mates.
I loved what I saw of him last season, but so far it’s not only his final ball and decision making that’s frustrating, it’s his overall body language and lack of maturity on the pitch.
I gave him a 1 out of 10 in my player ratings piece. It sounds a little harsh given it was a mid-season friendly, but he was shocking – especially when you consider just how important it is for him to impress now Almiron is another player he’s competing with.
He’s got a few months left to save his Newcastle career – although I can’t see where he’ll get the chance to impress given we’re out the cup and have several key games to come Perez, Almiron, Atsu and Ritchie all ahead of him in the pecking order out wide.