Newcastle coach suggests Florian Thauvin can play upfront

Newcastle could utilise Florian Thauvin in a ‘half-striker’ position.

Speaking to NUFC TV, Newcastle coach Paul Simpson has hinted at utilising Florian Thauvin as a striker, following the loss of Aleksandar Mitrovic to suspension.

Simpson said: “Florian Thauvin had to go and play that half striker against Arsenal and did it very well. So we have got lots of options, we’ve got them across the midfield and in the wide areas as well.”

Thauvin is surely only set to be a back up option to play upfront, but he has proven himself in that central role if needed.

Due to his natural preference as an attacking midfielder, he would provide more of a withdrawn role if he was playing as a lone forward, meaning that the Magpies would lack a real target man in the mould of Mitrovic.

The Serbian forward is suspended this week as the Tyneside club take on West Ham on Monday, and it is likely that Steve McClaren looks towards using Ayoze Perez or Papiss Cisse for the game at the Boleyn Ground.

However, selecting Thauvin centrally would provide a different option, and his style of tricky running could do well to overcome the Hammers defence.

The Frenchman would be utilised as something of a false nine, and with the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko providing the direct threat from deeper, this change in system could prove to be a success for the Magpies.

McClaren is likely to select Cisse or Perez, but keeping Thauvin on the bench to utilise as a false nine later in the game against West Ham could prove to be a tactical masterstroke.

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