Everybody from Steve McClaren to Georginio Wijnaldum is talking about the vital importance of getting plenty of time on the pitch in the pre season friendlies.
Currently the Newcastle squad are over halfway through their schedule of friendly matches, having played Gateshead, Club Atlas, Sacramento Republic and Portland Timbers’ second team.
The players only having three further matches packed into a week, to try and persuade Steve McClaren they should start against Southampton.
If we look at the games so far and take the players who have featured the most in them, what would the team look like?
These are the ten outfield players to get the most minutes on the pitch in the four games (number of minutes on the pitch ahead of each name):
201 De Jong
In terms of goalkeepers, you have Darlow and Woodman both with 135 minutes each (Krul with 90 minutes)
Then the next six outfield players are 177 Obertan, 174 Aarons, 174 Perez , 153 Bigirimana, 153 Ferguson, 135 Satka,
With the remaining players being 108 Armstrong, 90 Krul, 66 Wijnaldum, 65 Abeid, 45 Taylor, 45 Good, 45 Tiote, 45 Riviere, 0 Mitrovic
Great to see that the likes of Janmaat, Sissoko, Cisse, Colback and de Jong up amongst those who have been getting plenty of game time.
However, this next week will hopefully see players such as Krul, Coloccini, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Aarons and Mbemba (fingers crossed) coming to the fore and starting to build up teamwork and understanding as a unit.
Next stop is Sheffield United with a 1pm kick-off this lunchtime and Steve McClaren made clear he wasn’t happy with a game coming up so quickly after travelling back from America.
Let’s hope that doesn’t further hamper his choice of team against the Blades and he starts to pull together the team he will be relying on to take the fight to the Premier League this season.