By Abigail Withey
Former Newcastle forward Mick Quinn has urged summer signing Mikel Merino to thrive in the squad while Jonjo Shelvey serves his red card suspension.
The skipper was given a straight red card on Sunday during his club’s Premier League opener against Tottenham after the 25-year-old stood on Dele Alli’s ankle in front of the referee.
While the captain’s ban has come as a blow to the club, Quinn believes that it could work in the favour of new loan signing Merino, who is one of six new signings the Magpies have made this summer.
The pundit said: “If Merino comes in, grabs his chance and settles straight into the Premier League then Shelvey could be waiting a while to get his opportunity again.”
“From the little bits I’ve seen of Merino there looks to be a player in there,” he wrote in his column for the Chronicle. “It’s a gamble for Newcastle to buy him but Rafa obviously saw something.”
The former footballer, who is now scout for Wigan Athletic has said that Shelvey’s match ban could give him a regular spot in the first-team.
“Now he has arguably the biggest chance of his career because there’s three important games for Newcastle and he will be the main man for all three,” Quinn explained. “If he delivers, he’ll be a hero.”
Merino, 21, has been signed on a season-long loan deal from Borussia Dortmund worth £2.7 million, and made his debut during Newcastle’s clash against Spurs.
He came on in the 76th minute in place of Dwight Gayle, and showed potential on the pitch at St. James’ Park.
The defensive midfielder made just nine appearances for Borussia Dortmund over his debut season last year, but regular playing time with the Magpies will undoubtably boost his confidence and develop his skills.
Merino is likely to feature in place of Shelvey for the club’s upcoming fixtures against Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and West Ham.
In other Newcastle news, a Premier League forward could be joining the club after his manager opens the door for an exit.