How important is Premier League experience?
Many fans were hoping for players to be added this summer who would already have a few seasons under their belt in terms of playing in the English top tier.
So far though, Newcastle have only added two signings with one Premier League start between them.
I have compiled this list below, showing how many Premier League starts each of these 30 Newcastle United players have made in their whole careers, including at other clubs:
156 Jack Colback
156 Tim Krul
152 Mohamed Diame
119 Ciaran Clark
99 Jonjo Shelvey
58 Paul Dummett
47 Ayoze Perez
35 Rob Elliot
34 Matt Ritchie
33 Chancel Mbemba
33 Daryl Murphy
27 Dwight Gayle
25 Grant Hanley
23 Massadio Haidara
21 DeAndre Yedlin
16 Emmanuel Riviere
10 Jamaal Lascelles
9 Karl Darlow
4 Siem de Jong
3 Rolando Aarons
2 Henri Saivet
1 Adam Armstrong
1 Christian Atsu
0 Freddie Woodman, Jesus Gamez, Achraf Lazaar, Florian Lejeune, Jamie Sterry, Isaac Hayden
So only six of these 30 Newcastle players have started more than 47 Premier League games in their careers.
With Tim Krul clearly going to leave, I would say that only Ciaran Clark and Jonjo Shelvey would be most supporters’ idea in an ideal world, of being good enough to start against Spurs in 27 days time.
Paul Dummett, Jack Colback and Mohamed Diame may have a role as squad players this coming season but haven’t suggested they could be anything more.
The lack of experience at a decent level anywhere is quite striking in this group of players, when it comes to the big five leagues (Italy, England, Germany, Spain and France) only really Jesus Gamez (in La Liga) has any significant decent experience in a top league outside of the Premier League. The likes of de Jong, Mitrovic and Mbemba having played in the weak Dutch and Belgian leagues.
When you look back at the Newcastle squad that faced up to the challenge of the Premier League in 2010/11 after promotion, you had by then a host of players who had at least decent experience in one or more of the five big leagues, especially the Premier League – players such as Barton, Smith, Nolan, Harper, Coloccini, Gutierrez, Enrique, Campbell, Enrique, Ben Arfa – even Steven Taylor and Shola Ameobi both had at least a hundred games worth of PL experience by the time that 2010/11 season came about.
Experience isn’t everything but when the going gets tough it is usually a very valuable asset.
Newcastle will need leaders on and off the pitch next season, so adding more Premier League experience in the next few weeks would do no harm.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])