Robert must start - white booted winger can inspire Toon victory

Last updated : 30 November 2004 By Craig Hope (website editor)

Laurent Robert looks set to return to the starting eleven against Everton following his brief, yet eventful cameo in Sochaux.

The French winger was introduced with just ten minutes remaining but managed to score a fantastic free-kick in front of a number of his friends and family and perhaps more importantly both the watching French national coach and indeed Graeme Souness.

Souness will surely not risk a repeat performance of our last two league games at St.James Park. Having found ourselves behind early in the second half against both Fulham and Man.Utd, a unanimous cry for Robert’s introduction from the Toon Army has ensued. Souness, whether bowing to public pressure or not, has nonetheless obliged and introduced Robert to try and reverse the deficit. Against Man.Utd he was largely ineffective, but had it not been for Andy O’Brien’s calamitous defending against Fulham then Robert may well have inspired an eventual comeback that he was already at the forefront of. For ten minutes following his arrival we bombarded Fulham’s goal with a series of corners – Robert being the catalyst of our spirited revival until Boa Morte’s second.

Now the time has come for Robert to start at St.James Park. A good performance against Palace last week and his goal last night make it almost impossible for Souness to omit the enigmatic Frenchman once more.

Last night we looked better with two wingers. The use of Bellamy and Jenas in wide roles has surely had its day, the negative effect of playing arguably our two most influential players out of position was a general lack of both movement and imagination.

It is a long time coming since a team has headed back across the Tyne having been well and truly hammered. Laurent Robert, white boots and all, could well be the man to spearhead a demolition that is long overdue.