Yoshinori Muto got himself a goal as Japan made it three wins out of three at the Asian Cup.

The forward headed Japan level after falling behind to Uzbekistan, before Tsukasa Shiotani grabbed a winner.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

It was the Newcastle man’s first goal of the tournament, and his first strike since he found the net against Manchester United. Muto has struggled with life in the Premier League so far, with opportunities limited for the 26-year-old.

Losing him was a big blow for Rafa Benitez, but his Asian Cup exploits could actually help the Magpies.

Huge confidence boost for Muto

Muto’s last appearance for Newcastle was off the bench against Manchester United. Even over the brutal Christmas period, he got limited action, despite Newcastle’s toothless attack.

Most of the former Mainz forward’s opportunities in black and white have came off the bench. More often than not, Newcastle have been losing when Muto has entered the field.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

There hasn’t been much chance for the summer signing to settle, playing limited football in a struggling team. He then got a call up to the Japan side for the Asian Cup, which looked like another blow to Newcastle’s damaged squad.

But now that he is back amongst the goals, Muto’s journey to the Asian Cup might actually benefit Newcastle.

He needs confidence, and there wasn’t much chance of him getting that sitting on the bench. The chance to be part of a winning team with Japan is great for Muto, and getting back amongst the goals will only make him feel better.

(Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

No matter what happens in the Asian Cup, he should return to Newcastle with a bit more belief, which will aid Benitez in his quest for Premier League survival.

With no new signings imminent, a rejuvenated Muto could be a massive boost.

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