Following on from their disappointing 1-1 draw against Watford at St. James’ Park that saw Newcastle United miss out on securing all three points thanks to a late equalising goal, the Magpies are on their travels again with a clash against Leeds United at Elland Road this afternoon.
In terms of which players Toon manager Eddie Howe could select to be in his starting XI on this occasion and what changes he could make from the team he picked to play Watford, one figure that ended up being an unused substitute last weekend that we feel should be given the chance to play from the start against Leeds is midfielder Joe Willock.
Having not made an appearance for Newcastle in the league since their 4-0 defeat against Manchester City last month, now could be the right time to get the Englishman back in the team to get some minutes in his legs again and back into the rhythm of playing regularly.
Even though the 22-year-old hasn’t managed to score a goal or provide an assist for Howe’s side in the Premier League this season with 16 appearances under his belt, Willock showed in his loan spell at the Tyneside club last season that he can be a real goal threat in the team by scoring eight goals in 14 league games.
Labelled as a “special” player by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in terms of the qualities he has on the pitch, Willock certainly has the ability to make the difference for Newcastle, not only in this game against Leeds who he could terrify with his attacking talents as they have managed to concede 39 goals in 20 league games this season but also throughout the remainder of the season if Howe keeps him in the team.
In terms of who could make way for the midfielder this afternoon if Howe does decide to start Willock, who is currently picking up a weekly wage of £80k-per-week according to Salary Sport, the fact that Sean Longstaff had a rather underwhelming performance in the game against Watford that led to him being listed as Newcastle’s lowest-rated starting player on the day according to SofaScore with an overall rating of 6.6/10, could make him a likely option to drop down to the bench.