Newcastle United right-back DeAndre Yedlin no doubt used to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for boss Rafa Benitez, and rightly so.
The 25-year-old’s speed and agility were some of the key attributes that have helped him secure a prolonged run in the first team previously, but there was one flaw that was starting to show cracks in Yedlin’s game.
It was his defensive duties, something which he often did not stick to properly, leaving the team exposed on the right flank. There is no doubting the United States international’s ability, but the fact that he cannot perform the main job of a defender properly was no doubt ringing alarm bells in Benitez’ mind.
Given that he does not have many options to call upon instead of Yedlin, the manager had to opt for Javier Manquillo in the 1-0 win over Leicester on Friday evening. Many fans were no doubt biting their finger nails at the prospect of him playing in such an important match, but Manquillo came out the other end deserving of praise.
So, where does Manquillo’s impressive display leave Yedlin now? He now faces an uphill battle to win back his starting spot, as him conceding the penalty that lost them the game against Crystal Palace the weekend before last has not done him any favours in the slightest.
This game practically reinforced that he is too much of a liability to be risked at the moment. Benitez must resist the urge to start the £30,000-a-week [Spotrac] player against Southampton on Saturday if he wants Newcastle to finish as high up the table as they possibly can.
It may be tempting to unleash a player whose attacking flair can often be second to none, and seeing as the Magpies virtually have nothing else left to play for but pride, you could not blame him. However, dropping Manquillo would be very harsh after Friday’s outing.