The word ‘crisis’ has been the buzzword since Steve McClaren’s press conference on Friday afternoon.
Newcastle are in crisis because they haven’t got anybody to play left-back, apparently.
Well, I think this is something that could have been said every weekend over the last few years, or at least since Davide Santon’s form dropped off.
If there is any crisis it is due to the skimping on the defence by Mike Ashley over any number of years, with the last six years since promotion having seen only Santon, Debuchy, Mapou, Janmaat and Mbemba as any kind of serious attempts to improve the overall defensive problems.
However, three of those have since been sold at an overall combined small profit and whilst Janmaat and Mbemba are two of Newcastle’s better players, otherwise we are still just left with the failures of the past and cheap & available other options to try and patch things up.
The three centre-backs who played in the Championship in 2009/10 are somehow all still here, whilst Dummett and Haidara have been stuck in on the left and convinced nobody that there isn’t a desperate need for a quality left-back to be signed.
So then, today’s defensive ‘crisis’ against Watford.
Does anybody really think it will be a massive problem if Jamaal Lascelles or anybody else fills in at left-back instead of Paul Dummett?
Reality is that any professional player should be able to do an ok job at full-back. Obviously the very best full-backs give you so much more these days in terms of being able to create and score goals, but we haven’t got that at Newcastle on the left-hand side, so we aren’t missing anything.
When I was at school or playing Sunday morning football as I do now, left-back tends to be where you put your weakest player anyway to fill in, unless you are lucky enough to have somebody who is good enough and daft enough to want to play there!
I keep coming back to the same point. Steve McClaren can’t be building up these excuses before a match, including Watford today.
If Newcastle get beat it won’t be because Paul Dummett and Jack Colback are unavailable.
Far from injuries hampering Newcastle this season, they have actually been ridiculously lucky.
Pretty much all of United’s best players have been available pretty much every match – Wijnaldum, Mbemba, Janmaat, Perez, Sissoko, Mitrovic and you can also possibly add Rob Elliot since he came in and showed better form than Tim Krul.
Injuries to Dummett, Williamson, Aarons, Tiote, Haidara, Colback, Riviere and Cisse are almost irrelevant.
Ironically, when it comes to left-back, the only player that has shown any hope that he could do a decent job is Kevin Mbabu and Steve McClaren can hardly bemoan the fact that he is also injured, seen as he plays the likes of Haidara and Dummett ahead of him week in week out!
(To feature like John, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])