Time is quickly running out for Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian international has been in the headlines but only for the wrong reasons and this might be the last chance for him to prove his worth at the St James Park.
The Serb felt the heat after he elbowed Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United in a Premier League match. He faced the sanction of FA and was suspended for three Premier League matches. However, he was back in contention for the Liverpool game and Rafa Benitez looked pretty happy as the player went through rigorous methods in training.
But in a surprising move, Benitez didn’t even pick him in the squad against Reds and instead went on to bank on Joselu who is having a rough patch in the last few games. However, Joselu managed to keep the gaffer’s faith in him and scored the equalizer in an evenly poised match which the Magpies could have won.
This situation has brought the matter to a stopgap moment and looking at the current situation it seems Mitrovic’s days are numbered at the Tyneside. He has fallen down in the pecking order and the likes of Joselu and Dwight Gayle are way ahead of him in Rafa’s mind.
Gayle also hasn’t been utilised much since the arrival of Joselu but he has been a regular off the bench and has been hot on the heels of Joselu who has had an on and off form. Benitez tried to offload Mitrovic in the summer but the player remained on the books and now the manager has learnt a lesson will be ready for the perfect opportunity to lash on.
Benitez is likely to go deep in the January transfer window and Mitrovic might be given the boot if he continues like this. The 23-year-old has all the capability to flourish in this stage and just needs the perfect momentum to thrive in.
He has been working hard in training since returning from the suspension and with Newcastle scheduled to face a number of tricky opponents, the time has come for the gaffer to give the Serbian a good run of games.
Both Joselu and Gayle need rest to keep them fresh for the latter stage of the campaign and Mitrovic deserves a number of chances to make his way back into the team. If he doesn’t live up to the expectations, he should be given the sack in January beyond doubt. Can Mitrovic work his way back into the first team?