When I hear Steve McClaren speak, there is often another face that pops up inside my head.
The new Head Coach has done pretty well in terms of talking a good game since he arrived at St James Park, but a decent number of his comments take me back to the last four or five years.
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Rather than ‘what would Jesus have done’, I find myself thinking ‘what would Alan have said’?
The truth is, that a lot of Steve McClaren’s comments have been smack bang in the middle of Alan Pardew territory. Despite this one reservation I do though think he is doing a good job.
However, when Pardew used to come up with excuses he was usually ridiculed, when McClaren has blamed the pre season schedule for so many problems, he has been given every sympathy.
Playing an opening day team that included Obertan, Anita and two centre-backs who have never played together, sounds like a Pardew experiment gone badly wrong, but it proved a relative success for Steve McClaren.
On Friday though we have seen classic quotes that are very definitely Alan Pardew, with McClaren saying this about Gabriel Obertan:
“He did a fine job last week and not just defensively, he also created a goal.
“That is what he is capable of doing as he is a terrific talent, so quick and so strong.
“He is a Premier League player and it wasn’t a big call to pick him, it was something we had to do.”
I’m sorry Steve but Gabriel Obertan is not a ‘terrific talent’, he is a very average player who can run quickly but hasn’t got a clue how to turn that to his advantage.
Yes he got an assist for Newcastle’s first goal of the season but if ever a scorer made a cross look far better than it actually was, it was Wijnaldum. His sublime timing and technique turned a hit and hope cross into a very decent assist.
Obertan did well to simply smash the ball into the air and into the 18 yard box because he did it on the run, but to suggest he guided it anywhere near Wijnaldum, on purpose, is a tall tale even Alan Pardew wouldn’t attempt.
What else did Obertan do in the game….?
Steve McClaren talked of him doing a good job of helping to stifle Southampton attacks up Newcastle’s left but if that is what we want one of our attacking players to do, then just play another defensive player in front of the left-back.
I think Steve McClaren has done a very decent job so far, having only three new first team signings at his disposal despite so many positions needing strengthening, but to keep forward momentum I believe he needs more short-term backing in the transfer market.
Gabriel Obertan’s assist for Wijnaldum’s goal was a bit like a golfer and a hole in one, if they stick around long enough hitting the ball onto the green, eventually they would/could get a hole in one.
I was stunned when it was revealed that Newcastle had given Fabricio Coloccini an extended contract to keep him at the club, which means the deal goes until he is 35.
However, I would be more than stunned if Obertan is handed one after four years of doing all but nothing.
If we can’t get rid of him then by all means try and get whatever you can out of him in his final season at NUFC but please Steve, please don’t suggest he is a ‘terrific talent’ or claim Obertan is ‘a Premier League player’.
He’s not, the fact that not one single PL club has came in for him over the course of these years tells you everything, despite the player largely unused and obviously up for sale.
Good for Gabriel Obertan if he belatedly applies himself and finds a bit of confidence, that helps him get his next deal at a Championship club or a move back to France, but he is not the future of Newcastle – whether it is Steve McClaren or Alan Pardew talking (in my head).