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Note to Pardew: It’s not the squad size, it’s the injury management.

Posted on April 12th, 2011 | 27 Comments |

Pardew: More patience required with injuries?
Pardew: More patience required with injuries?
In the last few days, Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew has been bemoaning the size of the Newcastle squad in the wake of recent injuries, suspensions and last Sunday’s defeat to Aston Villa.

Amongst other things, he said of our capitulation in that game:

“We didn’t have the options we should have for a club our size. That is a little note for next year.

“We don’t want to get in that situation again. Villa bought on the likes of Reo-Coker, Heskey and Pires and it makes a big difference.”

Yet, in terms of numbers in the first team squad and the value of the players, Newcastle United are by no means amongst the weakest in the Premiership. We have one of the larger first team squads in the Premiership in terms of numbers (29, which is four larger than Aston Villa’s) and are lower mid-table in terms of squad value. However, putting aside the suspension of important players for the last game, our biggest problem has been the amount of injuries which have gradually started to deplete the squad since Alan Pardew took charge in December of last year. One thing that Pardew didn’t mention in terms of the “options” Aston Villa manager, Gerard Houllier had in that game was that there wasn’t a single injured player in his first team squad on Sunday.

Of course, all sides have injuries to contend with at some stage, and sometimes there is nothing that managers can do about them. But when players who have been injured are then rushed back into the side too quickly, only to re-injure themselves by being pushed too hard, too soon, then this is a case of poor injury management and is preventable. It is also something I suspect has been happening with the Newcastle United first team squad. Recent cases of this have included Stephen Ireland, Joey Barton, Dan Gosling and Jose Enrique.

In the case of Ireland, he was carrying a knee injury when signed on loan from Aston Villa in January. Despite the fact that his current loan agreement ends at the end of the season, or in six games time to put it another way, he is still to play his first game for the club. Ireland originally was all set to make his debut for the club against Everton on the 5th March, however a thigh strain picked up in training ruled him out once again for another fairly extended period.

Speaking in an interview at the time on Ireland’s re-injury, Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew conceeded that pushing the player too hard may have been a possibility, saying:

“We knew when we took him he was injured but this thigh strain, like anything when you’ve been out for a long time, you pick up these little injuries.

“I don’t think he has played a game since December 9 or something.

“Maybe we forced him back too early because of Joey Barton’s situation. I think we’re at fault a little bit because he’s picked up a thigh strain.”

On the subject of Joey Barton, who I think most will agree has been a key player for the side this season, he also picked up a knock in training before the same Everton game where Ireland was looking to make his comeback. Despite the knock, Barton was selected for the game, only to suffer from a recurrence of the injury in the warm up just before kick-off. Thankfully though, unlike Ireland, he was only out for a fairly short period, and of course, returned to the side fit some time ago.

However another player, like Ireland, who was signed while injured is Dan Gosling. After over nine months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury, he resumed training and played for a 70 minute spell in a reserves game. After a few minutes of his reserve appearence in the Tramps game, he had to pull out once again with a swollen knee, which is thought to be a recerence of the old problem.

On that one, Pardew commented at the time:

“Anyway, we’ve brought him back and in all this time there was a slight swelling that wouldn’t go away…”

adding later:

“If you’ve got swelling, it’s not right. Unfortunately for Dan, he’s going to have to be patient, and we are too because we all got excited when we thought he was ready to come back.”

Perhaps a little too excited?

In another interview from the time, Pardew gave another quote which reveals that he may have been sailing close to the wind recently with regard to selecting players who are carrying knocks, and / or need to be rested. Speaking on our current injury situation, Pardew confessed:

“I am going to pick the team on Thursday. In recent weeks we have been trying to get players through Thursday and Friday to be able to play on Saturday, and it hasn’t worked for us.”

Finally, in Enrique’s case, he risked him despite major doubts on his fitness for the game against Stoke on March 19th, only to see him pull up after 22 minutes with his hamstring. Thankfully though, like Barton, it didn’t lead to another long term absence as it has with Gosling and Ireland

Getting back to the game which started the wailing in the first place, our disappointing defeat against an under par Aston Villa side on Sunday, our midfield was certainly depleted, as were our strikers though the strikers injuries may have been caused by other factors. Admittedly, the missing players in midfield were caused more through suspensions for Captain, Kevin Nolan, and midfield enforcer, Cheick Tiote, who of course were both huge misses for the side. That being the case though, we could certainly have done with a defensive midfielder such as Gosling being available for selection in that side (Ireland was ruled out of the Villa game anyway because of his loan agreement). Whilst I cannot claim complete certainty, I think that there would have been a much greater chance of having Gosling, if not Ireland available in that game had their original returns not been so rushed in the first place, and both available for other games.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1055 articles on this blog.

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27 Responses

  1. It wouldn’t have mattered if Ireland was fit or not ,I doubt he would have been allowed to play against Villa.With Gosling I thought at the time it was silly,he had already played a match arranged for him that week and then to bring him on against sunderland was asking for trouble.Also I’ve noticed with Pardew when it’s a mistake he says “we” when it’s a good thing he says”I” and blows his own trumpet.

  2. Mick G says:
    April 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    “It wouldn’t have mattered if Ireland was fit or not ,I doubt he would have been allowed to play against Villa.”

    Fair point Mick G. He wasn’t allowed to play against Villa, so you’re right, I did get a little carried away and forgot myself there. However I hardly think that it detracts from the general point. I will change that detail.

  3. good point worky, I know hughton era is in the past but one thing he did very well during his tenure was ensuring players weren’t rushed back and it seemed to work through last season and early this season. Can’t ever remember an injury crisis under him!

  4. Exactly who is included in the 29 player squad ?
    It`s not about numbers it`s about quality.
    This club lacks quality in depth, the reality is the following,

    Goalies
    Harper
    Krul

    Backs
    Simpson
    Enrique
    Perch

    CD`s
    Taylor
    Williamson
    Colocinni
    Campbell

    Midfielders
    Jonas
    Barton
    Nolan
    Ireland
    Tiote
    Taylor R
    Guthrie

    A total of sixteen of which three are not PL quality, the rest out with long term injuries or kids, thats not exactly 29 PL quality players.
    Compare this side to any other PL club and the difference in both size and quality jump out at you.
    This club has been punching above it`s weight all season and i`m amazed we are in mid league position.
    Our backbone of Joey, Nolan, Tiote, Jonas and Enrique have been outstanding.
    If ashley does`nt stop screwing around with Joey, he`s going to walk, meaning we lose both Joey and Enrique.
    Sure once we have Ireland signed, Gosling and HBA fit at least our midfield will look decent, but we still have seven games to go.
    With Enrique gone we need a replacement, plus two backup fullbacks and a possible extra CD.
    As for up front, we desperately need someone who can score, (No not Cole) it`s going to take money, but with thirty mill. plus whatever we get for Enrique, it`s not as if we are short of funds.
    So the choice is there, strengthen the side with some quality or not.
    What worries me is looking at who the club is rumored to be interested in, there`s an overwhelming amount of free agents, not that that`s a bad thing if they can play football that is.

  5. chuck says:
    April 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “Exactly who is included in the 29 player squad ?”

    Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Ole Söderberg, Fabricio Coloccini, Sol Campbell, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, José Enrique, Tamas Kadar, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Joey Barton, Danny Guthrie, Alan Smith, Cheik Tioté, Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Shane Ferguson, Kevin Nolan, Stephen Ireland, Haris Vuckic, Jonás Gutiérrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Kazenga LuaLua, Peter Lövenkrands, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi, Nile Ranger, Shefki Kuqi.

    chuck says:
    April 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “Compare this side to any other PL club and the difference in both size and quality jump out at you.”

    Not at all, Chuck. Try looking at Blackpool’s FULL first team squad lists, or Wigan’s, or Wolves’s.

  6. Football Formation Creator says:
    April 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    “good point worky, I know hughton era is in the past but one thing he did very well during his tenure was ensuring players weren’t rushed back and it seemed to work through last season and early this season. Can’t ever remember an injury crisis under him!”

    Thanks FFC.

    Long term planning and patience are vital to good leadership.

  7. Chris Hughton worked his socks off and was looking the real deal (imo) and got nowt.

    Pardew breezed in with no real pedigree got a five year contract and has done nowt.

    Watching Caroll last night, he was outstanding, and reading the rumours about Jose really annoyed me (understatement). I would tend to agree with many of the comments on the previous thread, especially Trojans, about the selling policy of the club. If we continue to sell the quality players just as they are coming good then mid-table at best is all we will ever achieve. Tommorrows potential prospects are just that.

    I will be amazed if Pardew actually delivers a top class winning team and the players know this, thats why they will leave at the first chance they get.

    I’ve always been something of an optimist despite our history (last 50 years) but unless we have some big changes at the top soon I’m beggining to doubt if I’ll see a successful Toon team in my lifetime.

    But!! ;)

  8. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    April 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    “I will be amazed if Pardew actually delivers a top class winning team and the players know this, thats why they will leave at the first chance they get.

    I’ve always been something of an optimist despite our history (last 50 years) but unless we have some big changes at the top soon I’m beggining to doubt if I’ll see a successful Toon team in my lifetime.”

    Grumpy, I was absolutely stupefied by Ashley’s stupidity in replacing Hughton with a “relegation specialist” like Pardew, and I know for certain that he will never have a “top class winning team” with him at the helm. However, you never know what is ’round the corner with Newcastle United, so I too live in hope! ;-)

  9. Assuming Enrique goes for 15m (a good price i reckon), then here’s my list of possible/much needed overhauls:

    OUT:
    Raylor – 3/4m?
    Enrique – 13m est.
    Perch – 500k (champs team)
    Ameobie – 3m to Blackpool (if they stay up)
    McLovin – Just give him a BigMac and scarf and wish him well (500k tops)
    Krul – 1m (champs team)
    Gutherie – 2m NottsF
    LuaLua – 600k Brighton

    Ranger – loan out to Brighton/or some other champs team

    Which leaves 50m (Carrol and Enrique) plus potential 10m (i know, i know, there’s little ‘science’ involved so far) to spend on:

    New CB – 5m – A ROCK to replace Willo/Saylor as1st choice
    New LB – 5m – Van Arnadolt
    New RM – 3m – Seb Larrson
    New LM – 10m – Jermian Lens (not sure his actual value)
    New ST – 15m – Hulk
    New CF – 15m – Gervinho
    New ST – 7m – Tangines (17 yrs old, spare)

    Thats how I’d spend 60m, although I’ve guessed a HELL OF A LOT on values…still, with my wishful sellings, there’d still be enough for a round of buca’s and a cheap eastern european gobbler.
    x x

  10. We’ve gotta remember that the Enrique ‘story’ is regurgitated from last week.
    All the papers just decided to run with it this week.
    They’ve been kindly selling him to liverpool for us for months now, in fact since ‘you know who’ went there.
    Cos if there are any decent players at clubs outside the ‘usual suspects’, then the press sell them to, yes you guessed it, the ‘usual suspects’. That’s where all good players should go.
    Didn’t you know?

  11. We’ve been a lot less able to rotate & rest players in the prem.
    Last season CH could afford to give players a rest at various points through the championship season.
    Hence more burn out injuries.

    Plus, some of those players have been coming back from long term injuries.
    Saylor/Barton/Smith/Gosling/Ameobi/Best for eg.

  12. Milner @ 13 – Seb Larsson wouldn’t cost £3m. His contract is up at the end of the season. He won’t cost a penny.

    Also, from your list of sales, I’d be keeping Ameobi and Lualua. Say whatever you like about Shola, but he knows his place, probably isn’t that expensive and he does a job for us when we call on him.

    Every time his name appears on the team sheet, you always see people saying that he should be replaced by Ranger, because Ranger is “better”. Well we did that and look what happened. Nothing. A couple of well fluffed opportunities. I think if Ameobi had been fit we’d have won on Sunday.

  13. worky,bang on,there is absolutely no merit whatsoever,to alan pardew’s appointment.despite a finish of ninth with west ham,what else has he done as a manager?.
    if i was a football club owner,trying to build up a club,there is no way,i would employ a manager with pardew’s track record.for me,that was the straw that broke the camels back,concerning this regime.
    any lingering hope i had left,that these people would do the right thing,evaporated when pardew was announced.
    the decision seems to have very little to do with football,and all about jobs for the boys
    it’s fast coming up to four year,with ashley in charge,people keep saying i’ll reserve my judgement until the end of august.how many chances do we want to give him?every transfer window barring the january one,in the championship and the august one after that,he has turned a profit,and weakened our squad,time and time again.just because he took money from the carroll transfer,experience of ashley,it’s a case of”once bitten twice shy”,will this guy ever change?if the past is anything to go by,then we have to be looking at being disappointed yet again.that’s the one thing i’ve learned under Ashley,dont expect anything,and you wont be disappointed.
    concerning hughton,he must have stopped playing ashley’s game,ie talking crap to the media etc,so Ashley does his tried and tested method of getting his own way,he employs one of his mates,as per usual.
    there has to be something in his hiring,as i’ve never seen a manager get hung out to dry,as quick as he was,and his willingness to prostitute himself,at the will of his paymasters.the guy has zero credibility yet he’s still banging on about this,that and the other.
    Ashley said the have no time for fantasists in the recent,rehashed statement.if this is the case,then what the f**k,is a walter mitty character,like alan pardew at newcastle?.
    we have never had as many injuries,as we have now,since the messiah that is pardew turned up.i wonder if he’ll start doing a sourness,and start blaming the training pitch,the tea lady etc.
    alan pardew is a kind of a king midas figure in reverse,”everything he touches,turns to s**t.

  14. Is this a NUFC Fan Blog or an anti Pardew site, its honestly getting quite pathetic.

    Hughton is gone, he won’t come back now or ever… get over it.

    The injuries to Ameobi, Best, Carroll (at the time), Ben Arfa, Ireland and player suspensions to Nolan and Tiote would have come anyway.

    If you don’t see that our squad is seriously lacking in numbers. Then you are all THICK as pig sh!t.

  15. Gosling had fluid on the knee, the club were a bit concerned but the surgeon said the swelling would go down once he had played some games. It’s not the cruciate ligament which was the initial injury. How is that Pardew’s fault? All the club can do is take advice from specialists who know far more than they do. The anit-Pardew comments just for the sake of it do get a tad boring. And to say that Huughton never rushed a player back from injury is nonsense.

  16. Gosling had fluid on the knee, the club were a bit concerned but the surgeon said the swelling would go down once he had played some games. It’s not the cruciate ligament which was the initial injury. How is that Pardew’s fault? All the club can do is take advice from specialists who know far more than they do. The anti-Pardew comments just for the sake of it do get a tad boring. And to say that Huughton never rushed a player back from injury is nonsense.

  17. gosling was injured before pardew turned up,so that ones null and void,i’m afraid.the lad was injured when we signed him.

  18. I don’t believe anything that comes out of Pardew’s mouth.

    “We’ve given the answer to anyone whose contacted us that he’s not for sale. It’s as simple as that,” Pardew told reporters.

    “I can’t say to you strong enough, Andy Carroll will not leave this football club in this window. 100 per cent.”

    Puppet 100 per cent more like !

  19. In about 5 years NUFC will be on the financial footing MA would like. Then we will find out if he has ambition to build, or just wants to make money. Hopefully both.

    The real problem at that point is that, if he survives, AP will be an older manager, not a younger visionary with a strong plan. So the whole applecart might get upset when the new man comes in. And it might take another five years to get back on track. By then, MA surely will be rerady to sell on, and the new owner could be a problem, gutting staff and roster to suit his whims. It will just never end.

  20. Macas says:
    April 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    “Gosling had fluid on the knee, the club were a bit concerned but the surgeon said the swelling would go down once he had played some games.”

    Macas, I recall, however I don’t recall the bit at the end. If that were true then why isn’t he playing? ;-)

    I also recall a classic ‘Pardewism’ on Gosling from the time as well:

    “It’s difficult with Dan. We’re purposely taking our time with him, but he’s still ahead of schedule.”

  21. Look,
    let’s get this straight, once & for all.
    Whatever AP said with regard to ‘you know who’ leaving is rendered void by the FACT that ‘said player’ WANTED TO LEAVE, SO DID.
    He wanted more money, couldn’t get it until the end of the season at the earliest, so went off to scouseville.
    Over & out!

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