Siem de Jong looks set to be given an extended run in the Newcastle United side - despite his shocking miss in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
But head coach Steve McClaren has warned de Jong must “do the job” and start scoring.
We know he can score and get assists, and we know he’s smart and clever.
With Newcastle leading basement side Villa through a first-half Fabricio Coloccini goal, de Jong put a headed chance wide with the goal gaping.
McClaren has given his backing to the 26-year-old - who missed most of last season - though ahead of the visit of Everton on Boxing Day.
Asked whether he will be persevering with the Dutch forward, McClaren said: “You’ve got to stick with it, but you’ve still got to perform.
“You still have to do the job, and the job is you have to score and get assists, and you also have to run.
“We know he can score and get assists, and we know he’s smart and clever.
“I think he said before the game, ‘I need to score a goal’.
“Like all strikers – nine or ten – they want to score and they want assists.
“On the occasions he’s come on and got chances, there have been little deflections or the keeper has made a great save and it’s just gone over or gone wide. “He knows he needs a goal.”
McClaren knows the former Ajax forward well from his time managing FC Twente and he believes his experience - and improved fitness - has been important during Newcastle’s three-match unbeaten spell.
“He’s had to wait a long time, and he’s been frustrated,” said McClaren.
“At Ajax he played in a team that dominated the ball and dominated possession.
“He was the focal point of that, but here it’s a little different.
“We don’t really dominate possession – we’re more of a transition or counter-attack team.
“But I think his experience over the last couple of games has helped us.
“His fitness has improved, and his running stats prove that.”