NEWCASTLE United’s Gabriel Obertan has been backed to “frighten” the Premier League.
Obertan played his best game of the season yet against his former club Bordeaux last night.
The winger created Shola Ameobi’s opening goal in what turned out to be a convincing 3-0 Europa League win.
United boss Alan Pardew has frequently defended Obertan, signed from Manchester United last year.
While the 23-year-old’s pace isn’t in doubt, the former France Under-21 international’s ability to deliver a cross has been questioned.
But Obertan, unusually playing on the left side, played a superb cross for Ameobi’s strike, and his pace troubled Bordeaux all game.
“People sometimes have strange memories about players,” said Pardew.
“When we were unbeaten in the first 10 games last year, Gabby played every one of them.
“I thought he was excellent. He had a little difficult spell, but he’s 23 years old. This guy’s still learning about the game.
“We played him on his wrong side because we felt there was a tactical advantage for us there, and he exploited it.
“He has pace that frightens teams. He’s a great weapon for me, and he’s getting better all the time.
“I think people’s expectations of him are too high because they want to see him race past the full-back every time, and it’s impossible.
“If he did, the full-back would know what he was going to do, so he has to mix his game up.
“But he’s one of those players that you just want to see flying down the line, and obviously he can’t do that all the time.
“He has to get the balance right – I thought he did. He was excellent.”
The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/