Come in number 18, your time is up. At least until you have found some semblance of consistent form and start to offer the kind of attacking threat we’ve been waiting four-and-a-half-years to see. Much as it pains me to write this, I’m willing to wager there is a strong contingent of Newcastle United fans who harbour similar views: Jonas Gutierrez will never give us the type of attacking presence we need to consistently qualify for Europe and challenge for silverware.
The short-term answer is to drop him and give players like Shane Ferguson or Sammy Ameobi a fair crack down the wing rather than bringing them on for confidence shattering cameos while we’re chasing wins. The long-term answer is to find a genuine winger who will provide that cutting-edge, creative spark and weigh in with the odd goal. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I also think a winger should have a knack with deadballs, corners and freekicks - I never thought we’d miss Ryan Taylor as much as this.
It’s not nice but we have to be ruthless if we want to progress. I didn’t like losing Nolan, Barton and Enrique in 2011 but it turned out to be great for the club. I admire Newcastle manager Alan Pardew for the way he makes changes and drops players when things aren’t going right, but Jonas seems to be invincible when it comes to team selection. Why should he be one of the first names on the team sheet? He’s rarely even substituted.
Player politics is one theory for his bench immunity, Jonas is vice captain and I’m sure well liked amongst the squad, could dropping him upset key players such as fellow countryman and club captain Coloccini? It shouldn’t come into it really, but football clubs and player power are funny things.
The argument he should stay in the side on the back of his work rate alone doesn’t cut it for me anymore. Yes, he puts in a shift which will doubtless please the stereotypical, ‘get-into-them/f**k-them-up’ Geordie, but at the same time many of us were brought up on a diet of Hibbitt, Waddle, Beardsley, Ginola and Robert. We’re suckers for flair players in Newcastle and I haven’t seen enough of it from Jonas.
We haven’t seen him produce that sweaty Spiderman mask from his jock strap enough either. The stats make for poor reading. Not one assist or goal this season, two goals and three assists from 37 starts last year - not enough of a contribution for me. I don’t think Santon needs baby sitting at full back anymore.
This seems to have been a big reason for Jonas staying in the side. Along with Ba, Santon has been one of our best players in what has been a poor campaign so far. He’s improving every game and with someone in front of him causing more problems for the opposition full back, would he need so much help?
On a couple of occasions this season Jonas has been deployed through the middle, bizarre really, but in fairness he’s been relatively competent in this position, albeit a square peg in a round hole. The centre midfield role is his pension scheme basically; you’ll notice him drift inside more and more as the gulf between what the head tells the legs to do increases.
It’s hard to admit all this because at the end of the day, I really like the guy - he stayed at Newcastle after the club were relegated and we should never forget that. But at the same time I’ve run out of patience. Maybe a spell out of the side will do him good, we need to change things, the current personnel aren’t cutting it. I’m not saying turf Jonas out the club; I’m saying he needs to be taken out of the firing line. Long term I see him more of a squad player than a first teamer. There’s no room for sentiment if you want to progress as a football club.