With Sean Longstaff injured, Ki Sung-Yueng was handed a massive opportunity against Everton.
With the South Korean back from injury ,along with Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey, Rafa Benitez had a big decision to make.
Diame seemed the most obvious option after impressing off the bench against West Ham. But instead, Benitez decided to go with Ki.
The summer signing had been enjoying a fantastic run in the side before his season was disrupted by the Asian Cup. Things then got worse when he had to leave the tournament early due to injury.
Strong in possession, the former Swansea man changed the way Newcastle played earlier in the campaign, and Benitez obviously thought that was the best way to take on Everton.
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But sadly for Newcastle’s number four, he wasn’t key to the comeback.
Opportunity wasted by Ki
The 30-year-old wasn’t at his best. Unable to really impose himself on the game and take control of proceedings, Ki was replaced in the 79th minute by Shelvey.
The two midfielders are very different. Ki plays it simple, while Shelvey often goes for the jugular. And it was the latter’s approach that helped Newcastle grab a famous three points.
Ki’s disappointing showing won’t have helped his claim to be a regular starter. And with Shelvey having an impact as a sub, Benitez should decide to shuffle his pack once again against Bournemouth.
Longstaff’s injury has handed an opportunity to someone, and Ki has missed the first chance to take it.