Steve McClaren’s revealed why Ayoze Perez has played just SIX minutes of football in Newcastle United’s last three games.
Perez was an 84th-minute substitute in Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.
The forward – who signed a new long-term contract last month – was an unused substitute for the club’s previous matches against Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion.
Head coach McClaren’s decision to bring on striker Emmanuel Riviere ahead of Perez at the Britannia Stadium led to a chant of “you don’t know what you’re doing” from the away end.
But McClaren feels Perez – who has scored five goals so far this season – needs to be more “consistent”.
Asked about Perez’s recent non-involvement, McClaren said: “He’s a damn good player.
“He’s a match winner, and he’s a young player developing who needs more consistency in his game, in terms of during a game and game to game. We’ve said that to him.
“He’s still maturing. Players with great ability like that are sometimes like that, aren’t they?”
Perez could be recalled to the starting XI for this afternoon’s home game against Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, Liam Smith, Newcastle’s South Shields-born midfielder, has spoken about his loan move to Blackpool.
The 20-year-old will spend the rest of the season at the League One club.
“Sometimes Under-21s football can be fake in the sense that it’s not how you’d experience it in the Premier League, Championship, League One so it should be a good experience,” said Smith.
“If you want to progress in your career you need to push on, play men’s football and experience the real world.
“I needed a change of scenery. I’ve been at Newcastle since I was six, so needed to get out and experience things, because everywhere isn’t going to be like Newcastle.”
Blackpool manager and former United player Neil McDonald took Smith on loan after watching him play in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Hartlepool United this week.
Smith added: “I just can’t wait to go on Saturday.”