'It's what you'd see in kids football' - Souness slams 21-year-old after Newcastle defeat
By Abigail Withey
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness has heavily criticised Newcastle United loanee Mikel Merino following the Magpies’ 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield on Sunday.
The Tyneside club are yet to win a game since returning to the top flight after spending a season in the Championship during 2016/17.
Newcastle had a poor start to their Premier League campaign after facing a number of issues during their 2-0 defeat against Tottenham last weekend.
Against Spurs, Rafa Benitez’ defending duo Paul Dummett and newbie Florian Lejeune both limped off the pitch with injuries in the first half, while captain Jonjo Shelvey was given a straight red card after stamping on Dele Alli’s ankle in front of the referee.
Shelvey’s suspension meant Newcastle’s new loan signing Mikel Merino had the chance to step up and prove himself in the Magpies’ defensive midfield role.
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However, the 21-year-old suffered on the pitch and was unable to stop Aaron Mooy finding the net and scoring the winning goal for Huddlesfield.
Souness blamed the 21-year-old loanee for Mooy’s goal and said that Merino’s performance was like watching a kids football match.
Speaking after the game, Souness stated that Merino’s defending was comical.
He said: “It’s a joke. You’re defending 20 yards out from the goal: take a blow. Make yoursef difficult to beat.”
“He actually runs out the way of Mooy and the ball,” Souness explained, as quoted by the Chronicle (15.35). “You can’t win games of football where you’ve got people making those kinds of decisions.”
The former Newcastle United manager spoke harshly about the Spain Under-21 international.
“It’s weak,” the Sky broadcaster said. “It’s what you’d see in kids football.”
In other Newcastle United transfer news, the Magpies have received a response after they tabled a bid for this Serie A forward.