Having joined on loan from Bundesliga side Schalke, Nabil Bentaleb is back in English football once more. The Algeria international previously had experience on these shores whilst with Tottenham, but has been away plying his trade in Germany.
But following his arrival at Newcastle, where he will be playing until the end of the season (with the option to make it permanent), Bentaleb will be hoping to get back into the groove of things.
And against Oxford United in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday afternoon, the 25-year-old got the opportunity to make his debut for the Magpies.
Despite failing to inspire the Tyneside club to a victory, Newcastle fans took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on their January signing, with a few criticising him.
Bentaleb is just james perch reborn #nufc
— RJT97 (@RJT971) January 25, 2020
First game and all but Bentaleb was honestly appalling today.
— sam (@samcthii) January 25, 2020
Wasnt keen on bentaleb either, his first game and rusty maybe iknow. But thought he wasnt too bright
— Tom Hadwin (@TomHadwin2) January 25, 2020
A couple of fans however appeared to cut him some slack, based on the fact that he hadn’t played a single league game for Schalke this season.
Bentaleb looked good today, especially considering he hasn’t played in a while and he’s just getting settled
— Rochinio (@Rochinio29) January 25, 2020
Bentaleb was decent especially considering he hasnt played this season
— keegan bews (@whynotkeegan) January 25, 2020
Another couple of supporters of the Tyneside club praised his work in possession, describing it as “tidy”, although one fan in particular did mention how they would like to see him “move it forward a bit more”.
Bentaleb looks calm on the ball, turns and just no options.
— ThOmPsOn. (@garfbobt) January 25, 2020
Nabil Bentaleb has looked tidy today, but you’d like to see him move it forward a bit more, though. #NUFC
— Madrid Mag (@MadridMagpie) January 25, 2020
The result may not have been what Bentaleb was hoping for on his return to English football, but now that he has got his first game for Newcastle under his belt, he will be looking forward to better things to come.
The Magpies return to Premier League action when they take on Norwich on the first day of February, and both Steve Bruce and Bentaleb will be very much interested in securing a priceless win.