Alan Pardew Says First Team Won’t Meet Up Until 2 Weeks Before Season Starts
Any potential benefits of Newcastle going all the way to New Zealand are looking more remote by the day, apart from it giving ex-pats a chance to see a team representing Newcastle United in their own backyard.
There were no obvious commercial reasons for travelling to the other side of the World, at least not until it emerged in recent days that Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct have big [intlink id=”44887″ type=”post”]expansion plans over in New Zealand and Australia[/intlink], shortly to open flagship stores in both countries as well as partnering with MySale which gives instant access to 12m conline customers for Sports Direct.
The main benefit was assumed to be that it would allow new signings to integrate with the rest of Newcastle’s first team but that looks totally redundant after Alan Pardew has said it will be a young inexperienced squad he takes to New Zealand.
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The manager adding that it will be only two weeks before the season starts, at the Schalke tournament, when he envisage having all of his first team meeting up. Two weeks to integrate what could be half a new team doesn’t sound like a great deal of time, especially when in the past Alan Pardew has said how ideally he needs a week to prepare properly for a single match, and that being with a settled established squad!
This is what Alan Pardew had to say about pre season to the Shields Gazette;
“We think most of our players will come back for the tournament in Germany, so that will be the first indication of our first team.
“Up until then it’s up to our young players, especially in New Zealand.
“I am taking a young team and it is a chance for them to get themselves near the first team – we have a lot of our big boys missing.”
The final hoped for benefit of the New Zealand trip would surely have been for United to wow the locals and help to develop a wider fan base. Indeed only a week ago, local promoters of the four team tournament were insisting that Tim Krul was coming and indeed images of both him and Moussa Sissoko were being used on promotional material for Newcastle’s matches against Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix.
Indeed, when the trip down under was announced, the following provisional Newcastle squad was put out into the media in New Zealand/Australia to stimulate interest;
Krul, Alnwick, Elliot, Dummett, Mapou, Santon, Tavernier, Haidara, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Debuchy, Coloccini, Colback, Ferguson, Sammy Ameobi, Bigirimana, Obertan, Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Jonas, Gouffran, Anita, Tiote, Perez, Armstrong, Campbell
Out of that squad we can now assume that Krul, Debuchy, Tiote and Sissoko won’t be competing due to World Cup involvement and of course Debuchy leaving anyway, while this week Remy Cabella confirmed he wasn’t going to New Zealand either.
Jonas is obviously out in the cold and unwanted, not even seen at the training ground so far this pre season, while Marveux and Ben Arfa are reported to be training with the kids. Papiss Cisse and Davide Santon on the other hand are out injured and will miss the start of the season.
So working out which ‘stars’ are left who could be likely to wow our southern hemisphere hosts, I’m guessing possible travellers are Steven Taylor, Coloccini and Gouffran, plus the possibility of new signings Jack Colback and Siem De Jong potentially making the trip.
As Kevin Keegan once famously said about Newcastle United (and John Hall’s patter), ‘It’s not like what it said in the brochure!”
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