JOHN Carver says Newcastle United have upgraded at right-back – by replacing Mathieu Debuchy with Daryl Janmaat.
Debuchy joined this afternoon’s St James’s Park opponents Arsenal last summer.
And 25-year-old Janmaat was signed from Feyenoord as his replacement.
Attack-minded Debuchy, signed from Lille in the summer of 2013, had been a success in his 18 months on Tyneside.
But he wanted to move on to play in Europe – and Janmaat was identified as a like-for-like replacement.
While Carver, then assistant to departed manager Alan Pardew, was sad to see Debuchy leave, he feels Janmaat is a “better all-round player.”
“He’s been great around the place,” said Carver.
“He’s such a character – he’s larger than life and he’s quite funny – but he’s a good professional.
“When we lost Debuchy, that was harsh, but we replaced him with a better all-round player.”
Janmaat will play at centre-half against Arsenal with captain Fabricio Coloccini suspended following his red card against Everton last weekend and Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett injured.
The Holland international had never played in the position before his switch to the centre at Goodison Park after Coloccini’s dismissal.
But Carver is confident Janmaat can quickly adjust.
“He’s going to play as a centre-back,” added Carver. “I think he’s a great professional, and he will deal with it. He understands the game. He is a full international. It’s another string to his bow. I think he’ll cope with it.”
Ironically, Debuchy was forced to play in central defence against Newcastle in December, when Arsenal won 4-1.