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Underperforming Chelsea loanee Kenedy to stay at Newcastle United, for now

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Leaves door open to sending him back in January

Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Last season’s looking like long time ago to Kenedy, who’s having a terrible second season on loan at Newcastle United.

After thrilling the Geordies with his play as an attacking midfielder last season and Rafa Benítez trusting him with heavy minutes and starts from the beginning of his January loan, it’s all gone sour. He has but one goal and one assist to his name in 16 matches and has failed to impress. It’s gotten so bad that he’s been at times redeployed as a wing-back (or even as a left back) instead, harkening back to his struggles at Chelsea under Conte and Mourinho. Even worse, he was benched this weekend in the must-win game against bottom of the table Fulham — the 0-0 draw keeps Newcastle just five points clear of the relegation zone.

With Premier League rules limiting clubs to just two loans (West Brom’s Salomón Rondón is Newcastle’s other loanee), there’s been speculation that Benítez might send the misfiring 22-year-old back to Chelsea in January.

He’s quashing that talk, for now at least.

“It is true that he is not playing at the level of last year, and sometimes players have confidence when they are doing things. He told me the other day that he knew he was not playing well and these mistakes mean that he loses a bit of confidence.

”We tried to explain to him that the only way to change that is to carry on, and hopefully he will do that. He will stay; at the moment, I think so.”

-Rafa Benítez; source: ChronicleLive

Kenedy has reportedly been distracted by some off-field issues, namely his daughter and her mother not living in Tyneside.

But with the Magpies languishing in 15th place and struggling for form, they need him. If both they and Kenedy continue to produce poor results, then Benitez may be forced to revise his decision — and not only with regards to this season, but whether he would want Newcastle to exercise their buy-option in the summer.