Two weeks ago, Steve McClaren said he would pick up to 20 players from his current Newcastle squad and rely on that key group in the coming season.
So we asked Newcastle fans to pick (up to) 20 current players to make up their 20 man squad.
However, we did say that if you felt there weren’t enough players of a decent enough quality to make this key group of players then you should select less than 20.
On average in the poll, fans chose 17 or 18 players from the current squad, indicating that at least two or three extra signings are still desperately needed.
When it came to the choice from the current squad, this is how the voting went in terms of support for each player, as we reported on 2 August:
98% de Jong
(for those with lower ratings see below)
As you can see, there was a core group of 12 or 13 players at the top, including the three new signings, who have overwhelming support.
Revisiting this 10 days later and with the benefit of Sunday’s opening match against Southampton, interesting to see how we can mow interpret the ratings below, taking into account both the performance and team selection.
Seven (Wijnaldum, Krul, Sissoko, Colback, Mbemba, Haidara and Janmaat) of those in the top 11 ratings made the starting eleven.
The other four (De Jong, Perez, Mitrovic and Aarons) from the fans top rated 11 were all on the bench, with Mitrovic and De Jong coming on in the second half.
The other three subs (Tiote, Darlow and Taylor) on Sunday were also in the 20 man Newcastle squad that the fans chose, whilst of the other four who started against Southampton, three (Cisse, Anita and Coloccini) of them were also included in the fans choice.
So summing up, 17 of the 18 players who were in Newcastle’s match day squad were amongst the 20 names the supporters chose before a ball was kicked – the only exception being Gabriel Obertan.
The three other players the fans chose in their 20 man Newcastle squad were Dummett & Cabella (both injured) and Lascelles (young and inexperienced).
I’ll leave you to discuss those players that both supporters and the Head Coach chose to leave out.
Whilst it wasn’t rocket science to predict many of the names chosen by both Steve McClaren and the fans, it is great to see a synergy between Head Coach and supporters, with the views seemingly running in tandem.
With now less than three weeks of the transfer window remaining, it is very likely that McClaren would love to bring in the necessary two or three further signings for the same positions that fans would also target.
There was plenty of encouragement against the Saints but adding more quality could well be a tipping point of turning a promising situation into something of substance.
Those who didn’t make the fans choice of 20 players are below, with their percentage rating: