Javier Manquillo has played for some massive clubs – Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, and Marseille. Oh yes ... and Sunderland ... yet he has flattered to deceive for most of his career.
However, his performances over the last couple of weeks have shown a marked improvement.
Signed in the summer of 2017 for around £4.5 million, Manquillo can play both left and right-back and it was this versatility that saw Rafa Benitez bring his fellow Spaniard to the club.
Manquillo was thrown in at the deep end as injuries to DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummett left Newcastle short and the Spaniard was asked to fill in at right-back whilst Chancel Mbemba filled in at left-back. The 24-year-old started quite well but by December he had put in some unconvincing performances, particularly in defeats to Watford and Leicester.
From January of his first season onwards Manquillo had little playing time and was often restricted to brief appearances off the bench.
Once again this season Benitez has used Manquillo as a rotation option, and even though he played a crucial role in the win over Huddersfield in December, setting up Salomon Rondon for the winner, since then he had hardly been seen…until recently.
After Yedlin’s mistake against Crystal Palace the Spaniard was put in for the Leicester match and was solid throughout against Demarai Gray and then Marc Albrighton, as the Toon recorded a one nil win.
On Saturday Manquillo was up against Nathan Redmond, who has been in scintillating form for the Saints, but the ex-Atletico player kept Redmond quiet and even found time to get forward on a few occasions, linking well with Ayoze Perez.
Manquillo is perceived to be worse going forward than Yedlin but he actually has the same number of assists as the American this season with two, the Spaniard also seems more committed to his defensive duties and if the last two games are anything to go by then maybe he can turn his career around.
In fact, the Toon have won three of their last four games in which Manquillo has started.
For a player who started at Atletico he has struggled at every club but there was obviously something that all these big clubs saw that suggested he had potential, and he is now finally starting to realise it.
Hopefully this recent spell at Newcastle is the beginning of a revival for the 24-year-old, and not just a flash in the pan.