Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has told The Chronicle that he thinks Yoshinori Muto will make a 'big contribution' despite one appearance in 2019.
The Magpies drew at Wolves on Monday night, and will now be heading off to Spain for warm weather training ahead of facing Huddersfield Town on February 23rd.
Benitez will be hoping to get new signings Antonio Barreca and Miguel Almiron up to speed after their January arrivals, but it may also be key for striker Muto.
The 26-year-old joined Newcastle in a £9.5million (BBC) move from German side Mainz, having scored 10 goals in all competitions last season.
Having shown some quality for Japan at the World Cup last summer too, Newcastle fans were looking forward to seeing Muto in action – but he hasn't enjoyed much success.
Muto has appeared just once in 2019, a nine-minute cameo against Manchester United on January 2nd, and has made just 12 Premier League appearances in all, five of which have been starts.
Muto's solitary goal came against United in October, but he has failed to kick on since then and even headed off to the AFC Asian Cup in January.
Now, Benitez has welcomed Muto back into his squad and noted that he needs time to recover from the Asian Cup, hence not being involved at Wolves, and backed him to make a 'big contribution' when he is fully fit.
“Muto is back and he is happy to be here,” said Benitez. “It is another body for us. Normally (after a tournament) they need some time to recover, but for us he is another addition.”
“It’s not easy for any new player coming to the Premier League and play at the level people expect. But he is a worker and he’s very dynamic. He trains really well. As soon as he has recovered fully he will make a big contribution,” he added.