The arrival of Steve McClaren has brought much talk of clean slates for all the players, a new chance for all, opportunity to now show what great players they all are now that they have been released from the tyranny of Pardew & Carver.
It’s no different to any other club, a new manager is always going to take a bit of time and not make snap judgements…at least in public.
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Plus the reality is of course, even if the new boss doesn’t rate a lot of the players he has inherited, the basic truth is that you won’t be able to clear them all out straight away.
Especially when the ones you most want to get rid of, are the ones who have hung around far too long picking up wages in return for producing very little.
Which brings me to…Vurnon Anita.
He is just one of those who some fans are talking about having a second chance, opportunity now to prove himself, build on his display against West Ham in the final game of last season, now he has been ‘un-Pardewed’!
In fact the player himself has been saying much the same thing, although he didn’t mention Pardew…
“We have to start the new season the way that we ended the last one with the win over West Ham.
“From the beginning we have to start like that, we saw that day that we had everybody behind us, which is going to make a big difference.”
Those that want to see Vurnon Anita still having a future at Newcastle United will point to that game against the Hammers as the potential of what he can do.
On the other hand, those having the opposing view will think that it was about time the Dutchman had a decent game after three years at the club and it was against the only PL club who were on as bad a run as Newcastle, who had nothing to play for and already knew their manager was leaving.
Trying to be objective and I have looked at all our players to see if I can see them possibly bloom under Steve McClaren. Even with the likes of Yoan Gouffran I see potential, even if it is minute. After all the Frenchman looked like a workaholic with real purpose when he first arrived, as opposed to the mere spectator of the last 18 months or more.
However, with Vurnon Anita I just see nothing.
I can imagine him being a canny five a side player but when it comes to the Premier League he is hopeless in the air, weak in the tackle, not quick and most tellingly, doesn’t create or score goals.
His record since arriving in summer 2012 is:
Played 95 (all competitions) – 2 goals and 2 assists
The thing is, you can get away with having maybe one midfield player with those type of stats but they have to be pretty amazing at other stuff – Vurnon Anita isn’t.
Cheick Tiote might have a similar record when it comes to scoring/creating but when at his best, he has been a superb combination with the likes of Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse when United were at their best under Alan Pardew.
I can see that potential; Tiote sorting himself out and possibly doing a similar job with Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, de Jong and Aarons for example. I’m not saying it is going to happen and the odds are certainly against it, but a very good defensive midfielder can provide enough to compensate for their lack of involvement going forward.
Vurnon Anita has none of that, he can pass the ball 10 yards I suppose but I’m struggling to think of whatever else he can contribute.
Steve McClaren can’t change everything overnight and so we will need some of the deadwood to make up the squad this season.
However, if United end up with a squad still really weak in terms of numbers despite a few high profile credible signings, and players such as Vurnon Anita end up creeping into the team, it would totally undermine the investment been made in the team.
I’d love to see a ruthless policy of getting rid of players such as Anita, Gouffran, Obertan and Williamson, get whatever they can and ship them out. Even if it means it only creates room/funding for one other decent signing.
I would much rather see the likes of Aarons, Armstrong, Satka and Kemen making up the numbers in the squad than the players above, who we have seen time after time not being good enough.
Invest in quality and clear out as much deadwood as possible, it is what all decent clubs do and hopefully we’re catching on at last….