By Russell Edge

16th Sep, 2017 | 5:32pm

Newcastle player ratings v Stoke: Forward fails to shine, midfielder is crucial in victory

Mikel Merino – 7

 

Already firmly a fan favourite at St James’ Park, the Spanish youngster demonstrated why Jonjo Shelvey is struggling to break back into the starting XI, with the loanee demonstrating an impressive range of passing to go alongside his all action performances.

Earned a yellow card in the second half but aside from that, this was another confident performance as he helped Newcastle over the line with a solid performance in the playmaker role.

However, if Benitez did want to reinstate Shelvey, then Merino would likely be first on the chopping block due to their similarities.

Click ‘8’ below to see how we rated Newcastle’s players against Stoke