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…)