I saw a slightly bizarre question posed in the local press this week, the basis of it was whether it was necessarily a bad thing that Newcastle United had so few international players heading off this week.
The question though in reality is really…is it a bad thing that Newcastle don’t have many players good enough to play for their countries?
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This week United have Moussa Sissoko away with France and Tim Krul & Daryl Janmaat on duty with Holland, that is it.
Sissoko is first choice for France and played against Brazil last night, not looking out of place at all amongst the great players on both sides.
Daryl Janmaat has of course been arguably Newcastle’s best player this season and little surprise Gus Hiddink felt obliged to recall him, having dropped him after a match losing error against the Czech Republic last autumn.
Holland play Turkey on Saturday night and Janmaat will almost certainly be on the bench, as will Tim Krul who is in the squad as back-up.
This is reality, we have three players currently good (and fit) enough for international football, one as a starter and two as squad players.
Cheick Tiote and Papiss Cisse would also have featured for their countries if it hadn’t been for injury, though neither Senegal (36th in World rankings) or Ivory Coast (20th) have the profile of Holland (5th) and France (8th).
Outside of that we are really grasping at straws in the Newcastle squad; Jack Colback is a canny player but not international quality – though he may sneak in the odd squad in the future, as he did earlier this season for England.
The likes of Dummett and Ferguson have featured for lowly ranked Wales and Northern Ireland.
Looking to the future, Cabella and Perez have the potential to play international football.
Sometimes we need to look outside ourselves and see where others judge the Newcastle players.
The lack of international quality in the United squad is there for all to see, the managers of the national teams aren’t picking Newcastle players for a reason.
If the quality isn’t ramped up in the summer and the nightmare becomes reality where United potentially lose Janmaat and Sissoko, then we may no longer have to worry about injuries on international duty but it will be a pretty grim picture.