Why Ayoze Perez is too good for Newcastle's bench

Ayoze Perez
Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez was Newcastle United's match-winner at White Hart Lane last season.

But the forward could be on the bench this afternoon.

Steve McClaren left Perez out of his starting XI for last weekend's game against Liverpool.

Instead, he opted to hand Siem de Jong his first Premier League start of the season.

It wasn't the change that many Newcastle fans, frustrated with the form of captain Fabricio Coloccini, had been hoping for at St James's Park, but it worked.

De Jong didn't let him down, and McClaren has had the "dilemma" of whether to change a winning team in the build-up to the Tottenham Hotspur game.

“It’s always a dilemma,” admitted McClaren.

“I don’t like doing it, as you like to gain momentum, but Tottenham are a different opponent and a different proposition.”

De Jong and Perez are two very different players.

Perez is pacy and dynamic. He never stops running. Perez, as he showed at White Hart Lane last season, can also finish. He also works as hard as anyone in the team.

So too can de Jong, a player capable of seeing a pass a split-second before anyone else.

De Jong, best suited to the No 10 role but capable of playing up front on his own, doesn't cover as much ground as Perez, but he doesn't have to.

However, the former Ajax captain, best by injuries last season, still needs to prove he has the athleticism needed to play Premier League football week in, week out.

Perez has that, no question. He's the future, and the club needs to do what it can to keep him at St James's Park.

And the 22-year-old, a potential January target for Tottenham, should be in McClaren's starting XI.

But can McClaren somehow shoehorn both of them into his team?

The combination of Perez's pace and de Jong's vision would trouble any team.