A much-changed Newcastle United side edged past Blackburn Rovers last night to progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
In the FA Cup Third Round replay, Newcastle went 2-0 up against Blackburn but were pegged back to 2-2. Rafa Benitez’s men required extra time to sneak into the Fourth Round of the cup.
One Benitez tactic was the subject of much discussion last night: Fabian Schar was deployed as a holding midfielder.
Usually a centre-back, Schar is comfortable on the ball so Benitez decided to trial him in a midfield role against Blackburn.
The Switzerland international excelled in midfield, sitting in front of his defence and breaking up play, as well as carrying the ball forward and picking passes.
Schar demonstrated he has the ability to play in this position when Newcastle return to Premier League action.
And this could convince Benitez to sell want-away midfielder Isaac Hayden this month. According to Sky Sports News, Hayden is keen on leaving Newcastle so he can move closer to his family.
The 23-year-old wants to leave and has only played a bit-part role for the Magpies since they returned to the Premier League.
Benitez should let Hayden leave and if they can pick up a transfer fee for him too, then that would be ideal.
Newcastle may have been reluctant to trim their threadbare squad this month but Schar’s emergence as a potential solution in midfielder should be enough to convince Benitez to get rid of Hayden.