GABRIEL Obertan has been backed to put the “fear” in opposition defences over the festive period, as Alan Pardew hints at a major role for the winger over Christmas.
The former Bordeaux winger is back in training and will be involved against QPR today as Newcastle look to put Harry Redknapp’s men on the back foot.
Pardew retains faith in Obertan’s ability to create for his team and despite his inconsistencies, his pace and threat could be a major asset in a match that United need to attack.
Pardew feels that putting him in his starting XI – or bringing him off the bench – will also influence Redknapp’s thinking, with the QPR boss having to be mindful of the impact that Obertan can have.
“He looked good in training on Thursday on a difficult training day,” he said.
“I actually do think he puts fear in the opposition and sometimes when we and our fans are critical of him when they feel we could be more progressive and direct, you can’t take away that he influences the opposition.
“The left-back stays at home when Obertan is on the pitch and I think he’ll be important in the next four or five games with no Hatem around maybe.”
Obertan was linked with a move away from Newcastle, possibly as a makeweight in any deal to take Loïc Rémy to Tyneside.
But Pardew made it clear over the last couple of days that he wants to bring players in rather than shipping out anyone who might be on the fringes of his first team.
Obertan qualifies on that front, despite an up-and-down Newcastle career that has mirrored his time at Manchester United.
With Hatem Ben Arfa out until mid-January, now is the time for the winger to make an impact.