If you were asked who was Newcastle’s unsung hero this season, Javi Manquillo wouldn’t be the first name that springs to mind.
But the Spaniard deserves some recognition according to his teammate Isaac Hayden.
In a video on the club’s official YouTube channel, the squad were asked who they believed Newcastle’s unsung hero had been this season, and Hayden chose the versatile defender.
“A lot of fans maybe give him a bit of stick,” Hayden said.
“He doesn’t play every single game every single week but to be fair when he’s been called upon, especially the last few games and a few times before that, he’s never really let the side down.
“He’s always done a job.”
Does Manquillo get too much flack?
Hayden makes a good point. While he isn’t a particular star, Manquillo has been somewhat reliable this season and ended the campaign strongly.
There have been moments where he has struggled, particularly away to Cardiff at the start of the season, but he has also had some solid outings.
With his ability to play on the right and left side of defence, Manquillo has actually proven to be quite a valuable player to Rafa Benitez.
But his lack of consistency means he’ll never be a guaranteed starter at St James’ Park. He was a low risk signing in 2017, not costing too much from Atletico Madrid.
If a takeover does happen and more money becomes available, it’s hard to see a future for him at Newcastle. But until that moment, Manquillo still has a role to play as a squad player and it’s good to see a pro like Hayden recognising his contributions.
But that won’t stop me putting my head in my hands if he’s found out of position within five minutes of the first game…