Newcastle fielded an entire team on Saturday which included no British players.
The starting line-up against Manchester City included four Dutch, two French, a Swiss, an Argentine, a Serbian, a Spaniard and a man from DR Congo.
By comparison Man City had Sterling and Hart in their line up, plus nine recruits from other countries.
Does it matter?
These were the elven for Newcastle:
Holland – Tim Krul
Holland – Daryl Janmaat
DR Congo – Cancel Mbemba
Argentina – Fabricio Coloccini
Switzerland – Kevinb Mbabu
Holland – Vurnon Anita
France – Yoan Gouffran
France – Moussa Sissoko
Holland – Georginio Wijnaldum
Spain – Ayoze Perez
Serbia – Aleksandar Mitrovic
No two players are the same but I think in general it can’t help to have a single player from these shores.
Though perhaps more importantly, is that Newcastle have almost a total absence of players who came through at a Premier League club.
Looking at our subs on Saturday, there were three English players but they all came through at lower league clubs.
Elliot (England), Lascelles (England), Williamson (England), Tiote (Ivory Coast), Thauvin (France), de Jong (Holland), Cisse (Senegal)
Only Tim Krul of the 18 on duty at the Etihad could claim to have came through and developed in a Premier League environment.
The Dutch keeper came to Tyneside as a teenager and has then gone on to have ten years developing as a Premier League/English player.
I suppose the point is that he has a really good grounding in England, he understand the English league and what it is all about.
Kevin Mbabu could be claimed as a similar type as he arrived at Newcastle as a teenager but he has only been here a couple of year sand is still only 20.
Newcastle are relying on players coming from all kinds of other countries and mindsets and magically fitting together and providing a solid foundation to compete in the Premier League.
Obviously it isn’t a strict thing of English/Premier League players equalling good solid character and knowing what it is about, plus of course if you spend enough money then you are more likely to get the better and most driven players from abroad, those with the biggest ambitions.
Alternatively, you can get lucky and at times bring in players who automatically appear to have the right mentality – Ayoze Perez for one.
However, the route that Newcastle have gone down with their transfer policy under Mike Ashley has helped create a fragile team, one that can collapse as it did in the second half of the 2013/14 season.
Or almost get relegated in 2012/13.
Or nearly make the drop last season (2014/15).
So throwing a team together without any English/British seam running through it creates the likelihood of problems, though even more serious is perhaps the lack of understanding and experience that usually comes with developing as a young player and being moulded/toughened up as a Premier League player – no matter what nationality you are.
Either way, there appears to be far too many Newcastle players who go missing when the team need to dig in and this has happened year after year. So many times conceding one goal then quickly leads to another, or even worse, as we found out on Saturday.
Whatever the reasons for such a fragile Newcastle United, the whole player recruitment policy is in need of an urgent rethink.
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