Jetro Willems made his first start for Newcastle against Leicester in the Carabao cup. That match featured both Matt Ritchie and Willems from the start. Matt was deployed in a more attacking role for the game while Willems handled duties on the left flank.
This was the second time the both of them played together as Willems came on in the Arsenal game and, eventually, found his way to left-back while Ritchie move into an attacking midfield role.
With the arrival of a new formation against Tottenham, we wondered if Steve Bruce would consider playing both Willems and Ritchie on the left. Either of them would be interchangeable in a 5-4-1 on the left flank. The Leicester City match didn’t afford Bruce that option as available bodies up front were so limited.
Unfortunately, the Leicester match would put any possibility of a Willems-Ritchie left-sided partnership on ice. Due to Matt Ritchie’s ankle injury at the hands of a rash Hamza Choudhury tackle, Steve Bruce’s options on the left will be limited for the next two months.
Fortunately, though, Willems is more than capable of making the left wing-back role his own. Jetro showed what he is all about in his first Premier League start against Watford. He bombed down the left and was able to beat his man on occasion to whip in a few enticing crosses.
Jetro Willems– starting to find his place at Newcastle
Jetro has made some comments about where he is fitness-wise, and from what he says, we may see a lot more from the Dutchman after the international break.
This is what Willems has said in the Chronicle:
“I am training normally now. Everything was OK to play against Watford, it was right to play, and I’m fit to play. I’d say it was not perfect, but I created some chances and did my job, so that’s important for me and to keep playing.
“I played last Wednesday against Leicester in the cup and then against Watford. It’s quite tough. My last game was I think last season when I played the whole game in Germany. So, I’m going the right way. So, it’s a great time for me to have some rest.”
Jetro’s last full ninety minutes was at Schalke on April 9th, but that was as a midfielder. It’s important to remember that at Frankfurt last season, Willems was a back-up defensive midfielder. He started only 14 games in all competitions with only 7 starts in the Bundesliga. Of those 14 starts, the only one that was at left-back was in August against Papiss Cisse’s old club SC Freiburg.
We have only seen glimpses of what Willems can bring to Newcastle. He will get a string of games on the left for the first time in over 14 months, and we may witness a player reborn in his natural position. That would be perfectly fine with us.
This article was originally posted here