What's going on with Rolando Aarons at Newcastle?
Why are we waiting? Isn't it about time Rolando Aarons had a chance in the Premier League?
The winger has played just 77 minutes of cup football so far this season.
On Tuesday night, manager Rafa Benitez and a number of his players attended the Newcastle United Foundation’s 125 Years United dinner.
Aarons, however, wasn’t there.
Instead, the 21-year-old was the on other side of the Pennines for a Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.
The crowd of 1,107 included 50 away fans.
Aarons had asked to play in the game.
“The more games I play, the more goals I’ll score and the more goals I’ll create,” he said. “You can’t recreate game time in training, so if you’re playing games – even at this level – you’re going to get sharper.
Aarons – who scored in a 4-1 defeat for Newcastle – has needed games.
It’s almost a year since he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in training.
Aarons, having come through a painstaking rehabilitation, hit the ground running in pre-season.
He tormented Heart of Midlothian in the club’s first game and was equally impressive against Bradford City after coming off the bench.
Aarons used his electric pace to run at their defences and create chances at Tynecastle and Valley Parade.
He looked sharp. And he looked fit.
However, he’s only made one appearance so far this season, and that came in the Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest.
Aarons also found the net in that game.
Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu are Benitez’s first-choice wingers. Jacob Murphy, a £12million signing from Norwich City, has been coming off the bench in recent weeks.
Murphy, a boyhood Newcastle fan, was at the 125 Years United dinner.
The 22-year-old didn’t want to talk to journalists, so we don’t know how he is finding his first season in the Premier League.
Murphy, a talented player with a lot of potential, needs more time to adapt and adjust to his new surroundings.
“We have a young team with young players – some of them don’t have experience of the Premier League,” said Benitez. “They’re in a learning process.”
Playing in front of 52,000 expectant fans at St James’s Park is every boyhood supporter’s dream. But it isn’t for the faint-hearted, and can also turn into a nightmare for some players.
Aarons, unlike Murphy, has already shown he can play in the division. And fans are keen to see him given a chance – sooner rather than later.
Aarons will be in Benitez’s thoughts ahead of the November 18 home game against Manchester United at Old Trafford with Atsu having reported a thigh injury while training with Ghana.
And Benitez will be studying Aarons – and Murphy – closely in training with Atsu’s potential unavailability in mind.