After looking bereft of confidence in the months leading up to his loan move, Ramy Najjarine has reinvigorated his career following a promising spell with Newcastle Jets so far this season.
The 20-year-old will be hoping for continued success throughout his time in the Hunter Valley as he vyes for more playing time in 2021/22 when he returns to Melbourne City.
Newcastle’s use of Najjarine
Najjarine has become an important component in the Jets’ system, reflected in the 20-year-old’s 10 starting appearances, in addition to one cameo from the bench.
The midfielder started the season on fire for Newcastle, playing the full 90 minutes in the Jets’ first three fixtures and earning plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
Whilst those early performances established him as a Jets starter, Najjarine’s on-field minutes began to decline as he started to be substituted off in the second half more frequently, before ineligibility to play against Melbourne City and an ankle injury saw the midfielder spend a significant period on the sidelines.
Beginning from the City match, Najjarine missed five of the Jets’ next six games primarily due to that injury, which Newcastle coach Craig Deans claims to have been a result of targeted tackling by opposition teams. The winger has since made a strong return, starting in the Jets' last three games.
Najjarine is most regularly deployed as an attacking midfielder in either a 3-4-1-2 or 4-2-3-1 system, though his first appearance for the club came as a left-winger in a 4-3-3.
Whilst he’s yet to net a goal himself, Najjarine has impressed the Jets’ faithful with his creative abilities, providing three assists in 2020/21 so far. Given his 816 minutes in total, that’s 0.33 assists per 90.
Najjarine has become one of the Jets’ primary set-piece takers, with two of the 20-year-old’s assisting arriving via this route: once from a corner and once from a free-kick. The midfielder’s third assist arrived from an in-swinging left-foot cross from the right that found a teammate’s back-post run.
Surprisingly, Najjarine sees little time on the ball, playing just 27.2 passes per 90 despite his advanced midfield position; Florin Berenguer, for a loose comparison, plays 46.9 per 90.
However, the Jets’ midfielder is fairly busy when he does have the ball at his feet, making a key pass every 34 minutes or around every 10th pass.
Though he doesn’t yet have a goal, Najjarine has been persistent with his efforts, attempting 10 shots at an accuracy of 40%.
Najjarine’s brief time with Newcastle has thus far proven a fruitful venture, with the midfielder’s value increasing three-fold since he left City.
If Najjarine can continue earning starting appearances whilst racking up the occasional goal or assist then he’ll return to City with far more confidence and A-League pedigree than he’d have if not for the loan move, and that’d be a successful bit of business in our books.