Rafa Benitez explains why Ayoze Perez is invaluable to his Newcastle team

Rafa Benitez says Ayoze Perez's hard work is starting to pay dividends.

Friday, 13th April 2018, 6:00 am
Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez.

The forward has scored in Newcastle United’s last two games, the wins over Leicester City and Huddersfield Town.

Perez has now scored six goals in all competitions, with four of them coming in the Premier League.

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Only Dwight Gayle, with five goals to his name, has netted more times in the league than Perez, whose place in the team came under scrutiny earlier in the season.

Perez is likely to start against Arsenal at St James’s Park on Sunday as 10th-placed Newcastle look to secure top-flight safety.

United manager Benitez said: “He’s doing a great job for the team.

“Sometimes he can give the ball away, and he has to be more composed.

“But he’s working so hard and he’s gives us so many options, and if he can score these kind of goals, much better for the team.

“It’s important to have players working hard, also with some quality they can do these kind of things.”

Meanwhile, United’s Under-23s were knocked out of the Premier League International Cup by Porto B last night.

An 89th-minute goal from Oleg Reabciuk at St James’s Park booked the Portuguese side a place in the final of the competition.

Newcastle winger Christian Atsu – who started his career at Porto – attended the game.

“Their academy team is always very good,” said Atsu.

“Porto have very good scouts all over the world, and they have good coaches. They love to play football and they have a lot of academy players who are also playing in the first team.”