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Leon at his Best

CREDENTIALS: The Newcastle United striker has a stellar goalscoring record

WHEN YOU think of top quality strikers taking the Premier League by storm, the names that spring to mind are Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and maybe even Sergio Aguero, respectively.

However, as surprising as it may seem, Newcastle United’s Leon Best has been one of the unpolished gems thus far and has raised his game this season.

The striker nicknamed Zorro by his former Coventry City team-mates, because of the mask he wore due to a facial injury, was brought in by Chris Hughton in January 2010 for an undisclosed fee. Since then, Best has netted nine goals in 12 starts for the Magpies.

Although critics may not praise Best for his individual prowess that was somewhat under scrutiny by the Newcastle faithful during his start at the club, the Republic of Ireland international has managed to win over the Toon Army with a productive start to the season.

PRODUCTIVE START: The 25-year-old has scored three goals this season

It comes as no surprise that Newcastle lie fourth in the league at present, with the Tyneside team still unbeaten in six games. The 25-year-old has scored three of Newcastle’s seven goals making him the club’s top scorer alongside Demba Ba.

The Nottingham native has very much been apart of Newcastle’s fine form and Saturday’s (September 24) 3-1 win against Blackburn Rovers was no exception.

His failure to get on the score sheet was exempt by his collective performance on the day, as Best was at the heart of everything good for Newcastle.

His movement on the ball enabled him to assist hat-trick hero Ba in the first-half as well as making himself a nuisance to the opposition.

Best does not seem phased by the pressure that comes with being a striker at St James’ Park.

Newcastle team-mate Steven Taylor had nothing but praise for his colleague.

“Leon Best’s record speaks for itself. Since he’s come in and been playing games he’s done the job,” said Taylor.

The departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool in January left many Newcastle fans wondering who could rekindle their spark upfront. In comparison to Carroll’s 11 goals in 19 Premier League appearances Best has not done his credentials any harm by bagging nine in 15.

One thing for sure is that Best is the man leading the line for the Toon and if he continues his fine run of play then there’s no reason why he can’t be handed the vacant number nine jersey.

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