When Ayoze Perez arrived on Tyneside, it was under a cloud of mystery. However, by the end of his debut season, Perez was one of the club’s best performers. An impressive seven goals in a debut season in the Premier League put him amongst the best young players in league. However, a season and a half later, the young Spanish forward has been less than impressive. In a lower division, he seems a different player to man who arrived on Tyneside in 2014. Seemingly struggling with the physicality of the Championship, Perez has come under criticism from supporters. However, surely Perez should be allowed the chance to prove his accusers wrong.
The Championship is amongst the most physical leagues in the world. This is a fact, the English game is more physical than other leagues. Especially in refereeing which is far more lenient than in other leagues in the world. As you go down the football pyramid this trend continues to increase. Now when compared to the Spanish leagues, which Perez started his career in, there is a clear difference. Especially when you discover that the Spanish leagues are amongst the least physical leagues in Europe.
In the Premier League, of course, this can be something which is easily adapted to. Especially when considering the low percentage of English players within the league. However, the Championship sees this physicality increase and, as seen sometimes in the Premier League, it takes time to adjust. A key example of this would be French midfielder Robert Pires. When he arrived at Arsenal he struggled to make the acquired impact upon the team. However, as time progressed, he began to slowly show the form which had made Arsenal sign him from Metz. Now he is considered one of the finest players of the Premier League era. There is one key point here, you have to allow a player to adapt to the league.
Now when you apply this to Perez, although he has experience of the Premier League, the Championship is a completely different league in style and physicality. For a player the age of Perez, he has to be given time to adapt to the change in league and style. He has only featured in 18 of 30 games which Newcastle have played in this season which comes out at just over half. Surely this isn’t enough time for fans to be dismissing a player who was a fan favourite in the Premier League. With more experience and continuing to build up his physicality in training, this will come.
Perez is a player with a natural talent in the Premier League he landed on his feet and scored huge goals for the club. Although he hasn’t been at his best this season, he has still notched up three goals even though it isn’t great it is still something. You get the sense that he can always pull something special out of the bag for Newcastle. However, a player of his ability at just the age of 23 means that it is essential fans get behind the youngster. Hopefully, the Championship will see Perez grow, however, for this to happen, it is essential that he starts more games for United. Furthermore, if this happens, surely an upturn in form will also occur.
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy