Atsu, 27, spent part of the 2015/16 season on loan at the Vitality Stadium but only managed two appearances before his loan was terminated early by Chelsea.
The Ghana international is now a fringe player at Newcastle and has only started four of the club’s 12 fixtures across all competitions this season with Steve Bruce leaving him out of his last four starting line-ups in the Premier League.
However that has not stopped Smith from pointing out that Atsu is someone that he and his team-mates need to keep an eye on this weekend if he gets a chance to strut his stuff on the pitch.
“Christian Atsu is a good player you need to watch out for. I trained with him and played with him. He is a talented player,” said Smith, as quoted by the Chronicle [09:51am].
“He didn’t play a lot but you could see he had ability.
“He was a quick player.
“It just didn’t really work out for him here.
“But when he went up there he seemed to be a bit more confident and has been a bit more involved, he is more of a threat.”
Atsu is a decent player on his day. We saw in the 1-0 win against Tottenham in August what he can do when he is in full flight but since then, the ex-Chelsea winger has not really shown his worth. Bruce dropped him, understandably, after the 5-0 defeat at Leicester and it seems as though the Ghanaian will struggle to get game-time any time soon. Allan Saint-Maximin is in terrific form at the moment and was one of the contenders for man of the match last week in the 3-2 win at West Ham. Saint-Maximin is getting better and better each week and it is only a matter of time before he registers his first goal or assist in English football for the Magpies. Bruce could do with strengthening his winger options in the January transfer window because he does not have much strength in depth there. Atsu is still there waiting on the fringes of the squad for his chance though if another injury arises.
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