There is no need for him to stick around Tyneside when he isn’t needed and all the targets that really matter are all sorted already, so why not give a player that is sure to be heavily involved this summer the chance to rest for a while? After all, he has been one of our most consistent performers of the season and has worked wonders when combining down the left hand side of the pitch with another one of the three amigos, Jose Enrique. We have even got to have a look at this Spiderman mask malarkey that we had heard about, the one that the Premier League wouldn’t allow as part of it’s ‘no fun’ policy. As it happened it was largely irrelevent anyway as Spidey never really looked like scoring in what was a fractured team last season.
Fast foward a year and look how things change. Gutierrez now has confidence and a bit more of an understanding of the English game. We know he has talent, he demonstrated that on his debut at Old Trafford last season and was the tip of many a pundit to be ‘Signing of the Season’, plus he will be starting at the World Cup in one of world’s best international teams. Sure you could argue that he is playing against an inferior opponent this term and won’t be afforded so much time on the ball next season, but he has largely been double marked or looked at least to be earmarked for ‘special’ treatment from opposing teams this term.
Not only that, his work rate and attitide have been exemplorary this term, and will be vitally important next season when providing an advanced barrier in front of Jose Enrique whilst defending. It won’t hurt that he doesn’t play against QPR in the last game of the season on Sunday, and Chris Hughton giving Jonas a welcome extended break will surely sit well with the Argentine and increase any respect and appreciation there is already between them.
Which brings me onto team management, and more particularly man management. In my experience as a manager, albeit it not in a sporting environment, when you show respect and a bit of understanding to the people who do the job where it counts, on the pitch in this example, then you generally get that back when asking the person to do something extra. Doing a favour is generally not forgotten basically, and if it is then you have to look at the character of the person in question and ask yourself if they fit into your team.
Could Chris Hughton reap the rewards of this favour?
It certainly shows some understanding and compassion on the part of the management, and could be a master stroke by Hughton that could pay dividends next year as the majority of players return from South Africa having to have played up until the last ball has been kicked of their respective domestic campaigns. This could lead to a Jonas Gutierrez that is more refreshed and feeling better than the majority of players who have been involved over the summer and give us an edge in the first few weeks of next season.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I still think it’s a smooth move from Hughton and is yet another indication that the former coach is using up all his experience and turning into quite the manager before our very eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more senior players rested up on Sunday to be replaced some of the youth players that have performed so well over the course of the season. I’m not saying rest all of our players, but maybe Sunday could be the time to see the likes of Haris Vuckic in senior action?
Here’s to hoping!