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Steve McClaren confirms Newcastle team v Southampton (if you believe your eyes)

5 years ago

Steve McClaren has confirmed his Newcastle team v Southampton, not by words but by his actions.

No manager is going to tell the opposition what his team is four or five days before a match but circumstances have meant that it would be a major shock if the Newcastle Head Coach deviates much from what is clearly the team he has prepared to face Southampton.

Below are the starting elevens that McClaren chose for the last two friendlies (against York was a second team), as well as one of the two teams that featured in yesterday’s open training session at St James Park:

Team v Sheffield United

Krul, Janmaat, Williamson,Taylor, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Perez, Cisse

Team v Borussia Monchengaldbach

Krul, Janmaat, Williamson,Taylor, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Obertan, Cisse

Team that played at open St James Park training session

Krul, Janmaat, Williamson,Taylor, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Obertan, Cisse

If you looked carefully, the only change in the three line-ups is that Ayoze Perez started the Sheffield United match, he went off at half-tine and then in the 59th minute Obertan came on for Vurnon Anita.

First team coach Paul Simpson said not to read too much into the teams picked in the training session, whilst Steve McClaren has said don’t take too much notice of teams picked in the friendlies.

Well it is a bit hard not to when the exact same team is seen in the last three public appearances, apart from that one difference at Bramall Lane.

Seeing Newcastle fans predict their starting elevens against the Saints, I have hardly seen one that doesn’t contain Mbemba and Mitrovic, the same with Coloccini and de Jong to a slightly lesser extent.

There is a big difference between reality and wishful thinking.

Steve McClaren is never going to throw Mitrovic and Mbemba straight in without hardly any preparation, Alan Pardew may have done if he was still here, but thankfully he isn’t.

I can see Mitrovic definitely coming on as a sub at some time, whilst Mbemba could well do the same if the match either looks safe or the game is slipping away, but no way are you going to put him in a position where he is thrown in and an instant mistake gets him off to a bad start already.

Coloccini has played even fewer minutes (you only need to look HERE at the total number of minutes for each player in pre season to see the reality) than either of those two signings, precisely zero in the seven friendlies. Same with him, you can’t just throw him in when he’s had no real preparation.

As for Siem de Jong, it looks clearly like Steve McClaren is going to take a longer term view in terms of getting him fully match fit and has also increasingly made it appear that he sees it as potentially difficult to fit both him and Wijnaldum into the same team.

De Jong started in that second team eleven against York but in the other recent friendlies it is interesting to look at how both he and Wijnaldum have been used.

Wijnaldum made his debut when a 69th minute sub for de Jong against Sacramento.

Next against Portland, Wijnaldum played first half and then de Jong came on later for the last 15 minutes.

Then back in England, Wijnaldum started against Sheffield United before de Jong replaced him in the 73rd minute.

On Saturday with United one down to Borussia Monchengladbach,  the two players did at last appear on the pitch together. Wijnaldum playing the full game and de Jong again getting quarter of an hour at the end (for Anita).

People might like the idea of Colo, Mitrovic, de Jong and Mbemba lining up on Sunday but the reality is that you will be watching Williamson, Obertan, Anita and Taylor.

The only question is for how long?

Let’s hope that results are positive and Steve McClaren can introduce our better players when he feels it is right and not out of desperation.


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