One player who has been a regular starter in an ever changing defense for Newcastle this season has been Davide Santon. The left full back has started all 26 games in the league, has assisted 3 goals and has been a real driving force at times.
Looking at the player however I feel the Italian is somewhat underutilized in his current left back role. He for the most part of the season has outshone Jonas Gutierrez who has been playing in front of him on the left wing. In addition the blatant fact is that Davide Santon is a very right footed player and his left foot is his weaker foot by quite a distance. On a number of occasions this season therefore, his weakness has been exploited by quick-footed right wingers.
When it comes to the offensive side we have seen that Davide likes to cut in on his right foot and put crosses in or take shots, and we have seen opposition full backs wise up to that by showing him the out side and allowing him to cross with the left foot, which is not half as lethal as his right foot.
I feel that Newcastle United can really utilize Santon in a way which will allow the club and the player to excel and grow. Of course it’s no secret that Santon joined Inter Milan out as a right winger before being converted into a full back.
With the current Newcastle formation i.e. 4-2-3-1 I believe he can do a really good job as any one of those 3 behind the lone striker. Another option that we have is him moving to the other full back role where he will be more comfortable. Mathieu Debuchy who is the current right back can also play as a holding midfielder and he can move along side his best mate Yohan Cabaye, if need be.
Furthermore, with the signing of French wonderkid Massadio Haidara from Ligue 1 side A S Nancy, I feel it is only a matter of time before he starts to stake his claim for a place the first eleven. And any player, especially one has been playing regular first-team football over the past two seasons, will be determined to get as many games under his belt in his primitive years.
I do genuinely believe that Davide Santon can be better utilized in an attacking role. There are many options that can be looked at and the club should look into one of those. One radical idea is put him on the right of the 3 of the attacking midfield and move Hatem Ben Arfa in a central striker’s role a bit like Lionel Messi. Rest assured with that formation we will not be short on goals.
Let us know what you think. Would you like to see Davide in a more attacking role, or do you think his skills are being sufficiently utilized in his current defensive role.