Joselu can compete with new arrival Rondon after Spanish striker proves his worth with a goal against Tottenham

Newcastle forward Joselu could have been forgiven for thinking he might have to settle for a place on the bench this season.

Saturday, 11th August 2018, 4:47 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 10:45 am
Joselu celebrate's Newcastle's equaliser against Tottenham.

The arrival of Salomon Rondon from West Brom earlier this week placed question marks over Joselu's place in Rafa Benitez's starting line up ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

However, the Spanish striker, 28, proved he could still have a big part to play this season, following a workman-like display against Tottenham at St James' Park.

Newcastle went down 2-1 to Mourchio Pochettino's team but produced a spirited display against a side full of players who shone at this summer's World Cup.

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Joselu embodied Newcastle's gritty and dogged performance, regularly challenging for headers against the physical defensive duo of Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez.

In the 11th minute, Joselu evaded the two centre-backs to head home Newcastle's equaliser, powerfully steering the ball past World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

There were several occasions when the Spaniard nodded the ball down but lacked support from his team-mates, who were still entrenched in their own half.

He also played an excellent pass through to Kenedy minutes after the restart, but the Brazilian's first touch let him down.

Joselu may not be the most prolific striker after registering just four goals in 32 appearances last campaign.

Even so, his professionalism and commitment to the cause has rarely been in doubt.

Joselu's performance will give Benitez a pleasing selection headache ahead of next Saturday's trip to Cardiff.

When he's up and firing, it seems likely that Rondon will be the manager's first-choice striker who can occupy defenders, hold the ball up and bring others into play.

Still, whoever gets the nod in the number nine role will need more support than Joselu received from his midfield colleagues in the first half against Spurs.

Benitez admitted in pre-season that Newcastle's primary aim is simply to survive this season.

And Joselu proved on Saturday afternoon that he has the qualities to lead the line in the battle to beat the drop.