By 90Min
March 01, 2018

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has possibly given his reason for mostly leaving Aleksandar Mitrovic on the periphery during his time in charge at St James' Park.

The likes of Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez have been preferred over the imposing Serb, leaving fans unhappy with the Spaniard's team selection for the better part of the first half of the season.

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Mitrovic has since been loaned out to Championship side Fulham and has gotten off to a decent start by scoring twice in his first three starts. Yet based on what Benitez told the Chronicle, regarding Gayle, it certainly seems like he doesn't believe Mitrovic is the right fit for his system.

“It’s important for the strikers to score goals, but at the same time when the team doesn’t get much possession like us in the Premier League, they have to help the team defend too," the former Real Madrid boss said.

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“They have to help the team with their movements. Sometimes the striker’s movements create space for other players.

“That’s what we have at the moment, players working very hard for the team and you don’t see them on the score-sheet sometimes but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing a great job for the team.”

In all fairness, Gayle has proven to be a hard worker in all areas on the pitch, and his relentless running does trouble teams. Mitrovic - on the other hand - while a genuine striking talent, simply does not possess such qualities.

It will be interesting to see what happens when he returns to Newcastle after his loan spell at Craven Cottage comes to an end, though.

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