Newcastle United remain in the relegation zone after a 3-2 loss to Tottenham in the Premier League at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
PIF’s first match as owners of the club could not have got off to a better start as Callum Wilson headed the home side in front after two minutes, with a brilliant finish inside the box on his return to the team.
However, goals from Tanguy Ndombele, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane made it 3-1 to Nuno Santo’s side heading into the break, with a late consolation own goal from Eric Dier rounding out the scoring.
Whilst it was a disappointing afternoon on what should have been a joyous occasion, there were some bright sparks from the performance to take into the next few games. One of them was Javier Manquillo’s display at right-back against the north London outfit.
We published an article calling for the Spaniard to be dropped in favour of Jacob Murphy, explaining his poor form in recent seasons and in the last match against Wolves. Instead of dwelling on his previous mistakes, he was able to turn in an excellent performance and show the level of quality he is capable of providing.
With Steve Bruce’s future in doubt and PIF reportedly looking at potential replacements, the players could be playing to impress their next boss. This means that Manquillo may have saved his Newcastle career, assuming that the managers being eyed by the club took the time to watch the match.
Offensively, Manquillo was able to provide a useful outlet for the Magpies. Per SofaScore, he completed 89% of his passes, 100% of his crosses and only lost possession of the ball four times in the 90 minutes. He also set up the opening goal for Wilson with a sublime overlapping run down the right, crossing the ball for the striker to convert after a lay-off from Allan Saint-Maximin.
Defensively, he was also solid. Per SofaScore, he won 77.7% of his duels as he only lost two of his nine battles on the pitch, winning six of seven on the ground and one of two in the air. Along with this, he was able to complete an eye-catching six tackles whilst also making one block and one interception. Manquillo was able to deal with the physical test imposed upon him by Spurs and stopped multiple attacks with his challenges.
This shows that the gem is able to be a solid defender at right-back whilst also adding an attacking threat to his game further up the pitch. Any managers watching on will surely have been impressed by his showing and potentially thinking that they could have a real player on their hands if they are able to get him to remain consistent throughout the campaign. That’s exactly why this performance may have saved his career on Tyneside.