My son is always impressed by how many Newcastle players are listed on the back of the home match programmes.
He compares them to how many the opposition list and often United come out on top.
I try to explain that just because Newcastle United choose to include so many players in the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are good enough. Indeed I have even suggested that Newcastle might be being a bit naughty by including some of the more dubious names – but my 9 year old won’t have it.
So what have we got in our squad?
Well sorted the whole squad (some of them currently out on loan) into six different categories when the transfer window closed in September, from ‘Good (or better) Premier League quality’ right through to ‘not good enough’.
Here are the results of the Wilkins household:
Good (or better) Premier League quality: Tim Krul, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ayoze Perez, Chancel Mbemba, Florian Thauvin, Daryl Janmaat, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Seven players)
Workers: Paul Dummett, Jack Colback (Two Players)
Questionable Attitude: Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tiote (Four players)
Sicknote: Steven Taylor, Siem De Jong (Two players)
Not Good Enough: Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran, Gabriel Obertan, Rob Elliot, Haris Vuckic, Emmanuel Riviere, Sylvain Marveaux, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Massadio Haidara (11 Players)
Unknown Quantities: Jamaal Lascelles, Rolando Aarons, Karl Darlow, Adam Armstrong, Curtis Good, Ivan Toney, Lubomir Satka, Freddie Woodman, Kevin Mbabu, Callum Roberts (10 Players)
I listed seven as definitely good enough: Perez, Janmaat and Krul, plus the four new first team signings – anticipating that the amounts paid would guarantee they were better than most of what we had, though Thauvin still has it to do.
Next I had two in the ‘worker’ category, Dummett and Colback. Both are steady players and probably good enough for Premier League BUT only good enough with more talented players alongside them.
The questionable attitude section is self-explanatory, all four of them have shown in the past to have the quality needed but when will we ever see it again?
Taylor and de Jong surely couldn’t have been counted as first team players considering their injury record but I’m guessing those inside the club were counting on them doing the business.
Not good enough – it is what it says on the tin. I have seen more than enough of all of these to know they aren’t Premier League quality and every time any of them turn out for the first team we have a weakness or two, or three, or…
As for the unknown quantities – we haven’t seen enough of any of these to form a judgement.
Of the 36 players in the squad, you can see I have 21 as either unknown quantities or not good enough.
Which only leaves 15 potential first teamers and that includes sicknotes de Jong and Taylor, plus the four with the questionable attitude.
Bottom line is that the group of players who nearly got relegated last season were down there for a reason and we have very few players who are nailed on Premier League quality.
Can this group of Newcastle players survive or even just get through to the January without too much damage?
All players need to step it up but I do think a key factor could be those four players in the questionable attitude category.
If Coloccini, Sissoko, Cisse and Tiote continue on their current path and don’t improve, Newcastle could be in for serious times ahead.
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