However, the Spaniard has graced the field with immense skill and class in the league encounters this season and is making people stand up and take notice of the talent that he possess.
During his time with Real Madrid, Callejon played alongside some of the best in the current world game and struggled for playing time. Admittedly a difficult squad to break into giving the over-flowing talent that such an iconic club like Real Madrid has at their disposal, but the talent was evident that coaches such as Jose Mourinho felt this player could step up given the opportunity.
Seismic changes occurred in the Spanish capital this summer with Carlo Ancelotti ushering in a fleet of new names and cutting others that had been on the fringes of the previous campaign. Gonzalo Higuain made the move across the Mediterranean Sea to settle in Naples but Rafael Benitez swooped in once again to pick up another attacking player surplus to requirements in La Liga.
Hitting the ground running in Italy, Callejon has netted 4 in 7 games for the Partenopei, scoring his latest in the trouncing of Livorno on Saturday as the undefeated record at the San Paolo stretched on for another week. The 26-year-old knocking home the third of four in the rout of the Amaranto after combining with Goran Pandev before leaving Bardi helpless. To put that in perspective, the most the Spaniard has netted in any previous campaign was six whilst playing for Espanyol in the 2010/11 season and more time on the pitch seems to be doing wonders for his confidence and goal tally as well.
An area to question about Callejon’s game is perhaps the ability to step up and be counted in bigger contests, with no disrespect to Napoli’s opponents so far this season; undoubtedly the biggest test lies ahead this weekend against current table toppers Roma.
The last round of Champions League games highlighted this, as the bright lights of the Emirates Stadium dazzled Callejon who had his least inspired performance in a light blue shirt. Often being robbed of the ball and providing little penetration down the right flank, Benitez sacrificed the former Espanyol man for Duvan Zapata, as the Colombian debuted in the Champions League.
Rafael Benitez emphasises the need for rotation and believes, along with Aurelio De Laurentiis who used his normal soapbox of Twitter to voice his opinion, that every player is useful to the success of this squad and players such as Callejon, who have been rotated in and out the team on a regular basis, understand Benitez’s thinking and that ensures that his playing style meshes well with his coaches ideology.
Raul Albiol recently stated his happiness at being at Napoli and this Spanish community that is growing inside the squad really aids unity and for other Spanish speaking or native players this only helps bring on a players game as communication grows and players settle quicker. It certainly appears to have lifted the ambitious Callejon to another level and this has heightened his game onto another level.
The draw with Sassuolo is what stands between Napoli and Roma for top spot in Serie A and Benitez’s side will look to eradicate the gap as the take on the Giallorossi in what could be one of the matches of the season.