Achraf Lazaar has had a tough time of it recently at Newcastle United, with the Morocco international cast out to the reserves by manager Rafa Benitez after a failed summer exit.
The 26-year-old left-back was expected to join Serie A side Genoa in the summer window but a last-minute hiccup saw the move collapse, leading to Lazaar being left in limbo on Tyneside.
There have been some promising signs recently in that Lazaar was handed a squad number and has been playing for the club’s under-23 side.
He has in fact taken that opportunity with both hands, impressing for the development side with three assists in his first two games since returning to action.
Lazaar has now spoken to Calciomercato about his situation, and his revealing comments suggest that Benitez should take a closer look at him in the coming weeks.
“They know it’s not an easy situation for me and they are trying to help me. Sometimes I train on my own after the end of training sessions to improve my level, that’s the only thing I can do if I want to improve because I am not playing Premier League games,” he said.
“I am sorry the team is not doing well especially because a lot of my team-mates would like me to be part of the team. I usually speak with them but the only thing I can do is accept the situation. If this is [Benitez’s] choice I can only respect it.”
“I don’t know what his plans are. Whatever is the reason I respect it because he is a great manager and I can only learn from him.”
These are not the words of someone who is bitter about his situation, but the words of someone who is determined to prove himself and work his way back to the top.
It seems as though Benitez has left him in the dark about exactly why he has been cast out of the first-team environment, and while the Spaniard will likely have a good reason for doing so, he must now swallow his pride and consider reinstating the Moroccan.
Newcastle are crying out for options at left-back, with Kenedy the only real back-up to Paul Dummett, and when the Brazilian is deployed there then they lose a huge amount of attacking threat.
Lazaar is showing good form and hard work in trying to improve his game, and Benitez surely cannot ask for much more from the 26-year-old flyer.
There is enough to suggest in here that he must now take a second look at Lazaar, and consider reintegrating him with the first-team during such a tough run of results.