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27-year-old must be sold: Three things we learned about Newcastle after draw v Bristol City

By Will Butcher

Football Insider analyses three talking points from Newcastle’s 2-2 draw against Bristol City on Saturday at St. James’ Park.

Jack Colback should be sold

As a proven Premier League player, it would make sense to be able to perform to a higher standard at a lower level. However, Colback’s form this season has been dreadful and his performance against the Robins is another example of just that. The 27-year-old seemed unable to pass the ball forward, to the frustration of the Newcastle fans. When behind, the Toon needed to push on and find a reply, but instead Colback looked more focused on playing for himself and keeping the ball rather than doing something about the scoreline. Benitez must bring in a new central midfield partner for Jonjo Shelvey, and sell Colback in the summer.

Like-for-like swap

Karl Darlow has had a horrendous month. A monstrous error against Norwich during the 2-2 draw was compounded with another moment of stupidity that involved left-back Paul Dummett, allowing David Cotterill to score City’s second. Darlow looked like an 18-year-old making his debut in a cup final, with nerves beginning to cloud his decision making. For the second time this season, manager Rafa Benitez must axe his first-choice goalkeeper and hand long-term injury absentee Rob Elliot a chance in the first team.

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Permanent deal for 25-year-old

Christian Atsu was one of the only Toon players to play with any kind of intensity and freedom. The Ghana international got forward well and was confident enough to take on the full-back. Although his end product did not produce the required precision to find striker Aleskander Mitrovic, his ability to reach the byline is second to none. Signing him on a permanent deal from Chelsea would be a huge coup for Benitez’s side,as they look to add top-quality additions to their side in the summer if they gain promotion.

In other Newcastle news, Benitez has given a long-term verdict on this 22-year-old star.

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