One player who has been a regular starter in an ever changing defence for Newcastle this Premier League campaign has been Davide Santon. The left full-back has started all the 26 games in the league and has assisted in 3 goals and has been a real driving force at times.
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. What that does is; it allows the opposition players to pick on his weakness and get crosses in relatively easily.
On 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 outside and allowing him to cross with the left foot, which is not half as lethal as his right foot.
However Davide is one of the classiest players that Newcastle have at the club in all aspects and the irony is being an Italian, defending is the weakest part of his game. It’s not bad but it’s just not good as his attacking.
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 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 the club has 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.
The reason apart from what has been stated, I say this, is because with the signing of French wonderkid Massadio Haidara from Ligue 1 side A S Nancy, I feel it is only a matter of time that he starts to stake his claim in the first eleven and any player especially one who is as good as Haidara would want to play rather than sit on the bench and kick their heels.
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 Newcastle United will not be short of goals.