Handed a surprise start versus Southampton, Gabriel Obertan was quick to impress.
Newcastle's Gabriel Obertan emerged as a surprise star performer as Steve McClaren's Magpies earned a 2-2 draw versus Southampton at St. James' Park on Sunday.
The visitors took the lead through Graziano Pelle in the opening half an hour, before Papiss Cisse levelled the scores prior to the interval.
Georginio Wijnaldum then put Newcastle in front with a debut goal after the break. However, Shane Long was on hand to rescue a point for Southampton 11 minutes from the final whistle.
Despite failing to get himself on the score-sheet, Gabriel Obertan, who would have been shocked to start at kick-off, weighed in with an impressive shift for the Magpies.
|Total Shots||Shot Accuracy (%)||Key Passes||Successful Passes||Pass Completion (%)||Successful Dribbles||Free-kicks Won||Aerial Duels Won||Mins Played|
The French midfielder is often maligned, but his work rate and speed on the counter attack proved a real threat for Steve McClaren's side.
He ended the match as his side's most creative player - alongside Jack Colback - with an assist for his troubles.
Meanwhile, he recorded one shot, which ultimately proved inaccurate, and one successful dribble.
Defensively the 26-year-old also proved a significant asset, weighing in with two tackles; more than any other Magpie.
For a player who featured on just 13 league appearances for the club last season, Obertan's display versus Southampton could prove a watershed moment.
The former Manchester United midfielder provides obvious qualities when deployed in an counter-attacking system, and McClaren could opt to utilise him more frequently throughout the upcoming campaign.