Following a disastrous season to forget at Newcastle United, thoughts among some might be turning to the European Championships starting tomorrow. Moussa Sissoko (France) and Rob Elliot (Republic of Ireland) will be Newcastle United’s only representatives there, though bearing in mind that this will be the biggest shop window for footballers short of the World Cup, this might be a good thing.
Some might wonder how Sissoko managed to book his place with one of the more fancied teams after some of last season’s performnances, some might praise Elliot for some good performances standing in for the injured Tim Krul despite everything. However, players like that will not be the focus of this piece. I’m sure that pretty much all of you will know what they have been up to, along with high profile ex-players taking part such as James Milner (England) and Yohan Cabaye (France). Instead, I will look mostly at the “where are they now” players who will be there who used to ply their trade on Tyneside. Of these, the majority of the players (three out of four) will be playing for the two Irish sides in the competition, and another will be managing the Northern Ireland team.
Newcastle United announced their list of retained players (players who’s contracts have expired but are being renewed) earlier this evening.
Of course though, these lists are usually at least as notable for the players are being released as much as those who are being returned.
Firstly, the once seemingly never ending saga which was Alan Smith at Newcastle United is finally over. The player who admitted that he would “never be the same player again” even before he signed a £50,000+ per week 5 year contract for Newcastle after (not quite) recovering from a horrific leg break is finally an ex-Newcastle United player.
However, he isn’t the only notable squad member to be given the push. As has been widely speculated in the football gossip columns for some time, Danny Guthrie and Peter Lovenkrands will also be leaving, along with the once much hyped Hungarian hog harrier, Tamas Kadar, who never quite lived up to expectations in a black and white shirt. (more…)
The Magpies of Newcastle United will be looking to pick themselves up after a tough trio of fixtures and recent injury woes as they visit the Canaries of Norwich City.
Even though this is an away game, some may have thought this would be an easy three points, until recently that is. The loss of Fabricio Coloccini with a thigh strain, as well as Steven Taylor for the whole season with a knacked achilles tendon puts a new complexion on matters as our lack of strength in depth has eventually been exposed. Like ourselves, Norwich have been something of a “surprise package” in the Premiership so far. Though Norwich City’s entire first team squad is worth far less than the amount Mike Ashley received for Andy Carroll alone, they are currently sitting quite comfortably at 11th in the table. That is quite an achievement for such a modest squad who were expected to be rooted at the bottom of the table, and not to be sniffed at, especially in the light of our recent circumstances injurywise. More on that below however…
As someone once said: “Defence is just another way to attack.“ You can just start to imagine (go on, imagine it) how important our stable defence has been for our attacking play this season.
Take the two central defenders out of the equation and what happens? Well, we may find out next weekend if Coloccini doesn’t make it as he hopes for our next game against Norwich. Alan Pardew and Newcastle United have managed to keep the same defence throughout the season, but could now be forced to make a big change with Steven Taylor out for the season and Coloccini possibly missing with a thigh strain. The aim of this piece is to shed light on the different defensive options for the team, and then argue which would be the strongest.
Natural Defenders Available:
Danny Simpson, Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Tamas Kadar, Shola Ameobi and Davide Santon.
Alan Smith, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez. (more…)
The treatment at St James’ Park is already beginning to fill up, even before a ball has been kicked in the Premier League.
It is worrying that we seem to be losing players left, right and centre due to injury, but an additional concern is the amount of time that players will be out because of these injuries.
Take Danny Simpson as an example, he will miss the first month of the season through injury, and it looks like Steven Taylor will be joining him although that is yet to be confirmed. Tamas Kadar is another player who is fighting to be fit for the start of the season. Add all that together and it is becoming apparent that we are desperately short of players in certain positions for the new season. (more…)
Most of us are aware that our beloved Newcastle squad is, how should we say, a little thin on numbers at the moment.
Whather or not that gets rectified by signing players is something that we are waiting to see, but for now we find ourselves succeptable to an injury crisis.
We have already lost Danny Simpson, who will definately miss the start of the season whilst Steven Taylor is another player who could miss the start of the season, if his shoulder injury requires surgery.
Now it looks like Tamas Kadar is the latest in line who could potentially miss out on the start of the new season through a groin injury, which was the reason he played no part in the 3-0 friendly win at Carlisle last weekend. Unfortunately, all of these players are defenders, so are we suffering our first injury crisis of the season, before a competitive ball has been kicked? (more…)
A lot of us have known about Haris Vuckic and his potential for a while now, and that potential has recieved another plug today from fellow team-mate, Ryan Taylor, who believes the future could be bright at St James’ Park for a number of youngsters.
As has been said, a lot of us are expecting great things from the young Slovenian midfielder who will undoubtedbly be looking forward to next season, with the prize of breaking into the first team being the reward for hard work and demonstrating ability on the training pitch. In fact, Chris Hughton has already dropped the hint that Vuckic will be more heavily involved in first team affairs next season, something we are all finally looking forward to seeing. I have been a bit disappointed that we haven’t seen more of the boy in The Championship, but in fairness he has only just returned from a horrendous injury, and at least we saw Vuckic make a cameo appearance at QPR on the final day of the season. (more…)
It is becoming increasingly apparent that Newcastle United are bulding up quite a collection of young players, some of which have already been monitored by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Now we have another two youngsters that could potentially end up at the academy in the shape of Frenchman Martin Mimoun and Swedish goalkeeper Sulejmen Sarajlic, the latter spent the last week on trial with us in fact. You need to only look back a short while and see we reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup, something that hasn’t done for quite a while on Tyneside, and you have to admit that with the players coming through the academy the future looks bright.
The likes of Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Haris Vuckic and Nile Ranger are being touted as the next generation of Toon superstars, which they may well turn out to be. It’s an awfully risky strategy though, and focusing purely on youth is a potential disaster waiting to happen. I’m not rubbishing the strategy as it’s a sound, common sense and long-term plan for the future which should have been sorted out many years ago but wasn’t. What we need is sound investment in players for the future, and sound investment in players for next season. (more…)
Here I continue with the second of four installments of my player reviews for the title winning season just gone.
Last time out we had at look at how our goalkeepers had been getting on throughout the season, which was pretty easy by all accounts as there isn’t that many of them. Now we step up the difficulty and broaden our review to feature our whole defence and look at how they have performed this season. The back four has been a very strong area for us this season, a strange thing for a Newcastle fan to say following year after year of shabby backlines that nobody really seemed to be able to sort out. Granted we may have been playing against weaker opposition, but we have come out on top of them, miles on top in fact and we head to the Premier League with best defensive record in The Championship safely in the bag. I know we have had loan players in the shape of Patrick van Aanholt, Fitz Hall and Zhurab Khizanishvilli but I am going to discount them for this as they aren’t technically our players and only really played a handful of games for us. (more…)
Sunday will see Newcastle United signing off from the Championship as we travel down to London to play QPR in what is essentially a meaningless game for both sides.
So perhaps this could be the time to see the likes of Slovenian wonderkid, Haris Vuckic, tasting first team action? There will be no better time to blood one or two of the younger players in a competitive environment, and we already know that Tim Krul will be one player who will get his chance on Sunday. There has been much clamour to see more of our most aspiring youth players in the form of Vuckic himself, Tim Krul and Tamas Kadar, and many believe that giving these youngsters the competitive games they need to develop will secure their future at Newcastle United. Indeed there have already been links of a move away from Tyneside for all three players, with Vuckic being the latest target of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the last few days. (more…)