The news broke on his 21st birthday that Rolando Aarons ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament during training, meaning he will miss the rest of the 2016-17 season for Newcastle. Aarons, being so young, did not feature very much in Rafa Benitez's plans, but he did provide a winger off the bench.
The depth in the midfield, especially on the outside, now seems a little shaky. Aarons had appeared in a quarter of the Magpies games to this point. Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran are the presumptive first team players for Benitez, with Christain Atsu coming off the bench when Aarons did not. Vernon Anita is not a true fit on the wing and neither is Jack Colback. Mohamed Diame best slots into the center of the midfield as well, alongside either Jonjo Shelvy or Isaac Hayden.
Suddenly, it seems like Newcastle really lack depth on the wing. However, Benitez might have an option to bolster the depth in the form of one of his defensive mainstays. DeAndre Yedlin displays impeccable speed and good control on the wing. He is a decent crosser as well. With Achraf Lazaar and Massadio Haidara set to return from injury in the next few weeks, and Jesus Gamez already back, Benitez now has a wealth of depth and talent at wing back.
Yedlin never really fit the mold of a wing back. He is a decent defender, but more often uses his speed to compensate for poor positioning. He is an excellent crosser and would certainly give opponents fits when it comes to dealing with his speed.
The idea is not completely crazy. Benitez has already played Vurnon Anita at left back at times this year. Anita is naturally a deep-lying midfielder, but with Colback and Shelvey already in place, his chances to play were slimmer in that role.
This is not to say that Yedlin shouldn’t play right back anymore, but Benitez could find a way to get him more playing time as a wide midfielder. Long term, that the position that I think Yedlin projects best at anyways.
What do you think? Should Yedlin only stick to defense, or should Rafa push him upfield? Leave me your thoughts in the comments. I promise I will respond.