Time for second chances at St James Park?

They say first impressions are the most important. Unfortunately for Xisco, it came in the bizarre form of a youtube video. The then Newcastle United director of football Dennis Wise chose to use the popular video site as a scouting report to persuade Kevin Keegan to sign the former Spanish U-21 striker from Deportivo La Coruna. Unsurprisingly, Keegan decided against signing Xisco based on a grainy internet video and told the club he wasn’t interested. However, the club hierarchy went behind Keegan’s back and decided to sign Xisco against the manager’s wishes. The signing of Xisco and Uruguayan international Ignacio Gonzalez in the same manner led to Keegan’s acrimonious resignation from the club.

As a result of his infamy, Xisco found himself frozen out at St. James’s Park. Although he scored on his first appearance for the club against Hull City, Xisco has been overlooked by a succession of Newcastle managers, featuring only seven times for the Magpies in a miserable first season at the club. His marginalisation at Newcastle could be an attempt by the club to distance itself from the failed director of football experiment as Xisco was signed during Wise’s highly controversial time at the club.

A lack of playing opportunities at St. James’s Park caused Xisco to be loaned to Racing Santander last season where he also failed to make an impression.

Having failed to secure a permanent deal with the Cantabrian club, Xisco has returned to Tyneside this season, eager to prove his potential and justify his reported £50,000 a week wage. Xisco has been quoted in the Northern Echo expressing his desire to succeed at Newcastle:

“This is a fresh start for me… I’m very happy to be back and I want to stay.”

“One of the things I want to do is to prove I can play in the Premier League.”

That’s what I came here for. I feel comfortable and I want to stay and prove to the people that I can be part of the team.”

Despite his lack of opportunities, Xisco has displayed an extremely positive attitude in expressing his willingness and determination to stay at Newcastle and prove his doubters wrong. Indeed, Xisco has also expressed in an interview with The Chronicle that he is willing to play anywhere if it will benefit the team in any way:

“If I have to play in other positions for the team, then I will. If the manager wants to play me on the right or left, I can.”

“All you have to do is do the best for the team.”

And Chris Hughton has held Xisco to his word. In the pre-season friendly against PSV Eindhoven, Hughton deployed the Xisco on the left wing as a second half substitute and the Spaniard acquitted himself well as Newcastle came from behind to draw 2-2.

In my opinion, Xisco should be allowed a shot to compete for a place in the team. He has conducted himself with dignity during his time at the club. He has shown great maturity in using his setbacks so far as motivation to succeed and his positivity and determination is sure to go a long way in convincing Newcastle fans about his commitment to the club. Now it’s up to the manager to decide whether he is worthy of a place in the starting line-up.

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