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‘This kid had passed me by’ – Garth Crooks admits to finally taking notice of Arsenal star Nuno Tavares


Nuno Tavares caused Newcastle plenty of problems (Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Garth Crooks admits Nuno Tavares’ impressive display against Newcastle has ensured he now stays on his radar.

The 21-year-old was a constant threat down the wing in the 2-0 win over the Magpies and also provided the assist for Bukayo Saka’s opener.

Tavares completed a move from Benfica in the summer and has had to be patient in waiting for his chance under Mikel Arteta given Kieran Tierney’s consistently reliable performances.

The Portuguese has been quietly going about his business with a run of games since Tierney picked up an injury though and Crooks is excited about what is to come from the youngster.

‘This kid had passed me by, but he’s certainly on my radar now,’ Crook said of Tavares after naming him in his BBC team of the week.

‘I’ve always admired full-backs who are not afraid to try and have an impact on the game.

‘If Tavares wasn’t running into the opposition’s half with the ball he was trying to put one of his team-mates through on goal.

Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring Arsenal’s opener against Newcastle (Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‘The assist for Bukayo Saka’s goal was quite brilliant.’

Saka was the second Gunner named in Crooks’ team with the Arsenal academy graduate helping to earn the home side a vital three points and send them fifth in the Premier League table.

‘From the moment the game kicked off Saka looked like a player who meant business,’ Crooks said.

‘He gave Newcastle a bit of a fright in the game’s early exchanges, but the Geordies survived.

‘However it was only a matter of time before this brilliant young talent exposed Newcastle frailties down their right flank.

‘Saka scored a fabulous goal, matched by a super display of commitment and effort. I’m looking forward to watching this lad take his next penalty, just to see how much he’s grown since the European Championships.’

Saka and Tavares will be hoping to keep Arsenal’s decent run going when they face Manchester United on Thursday night.


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