Ahead of the Newcastle game, Norwich City Alex Neil has reflected on his players heading off with their respective countries and also the previous international break.
Going into the last international break, Southampton stuffed Norwich 3-0 and it looked as though the Canaries were in for a tough time.
However, the players returned from their international break and in the next four matches won 3-1 against Bournemouth and 3-0 when they met West Brom, plus excellent draws away at West Ham and Liverpool.
After losing at home to in-form Leicester at the weekend, the Norwich manager is looking for a similar response at St James Park in 12 days time.
Talking about the international break, Alex Neil mentioned the fact that three quarters of his regular squad are away on international duty, 11 of his first team squad.
When you are so close to your own team it is hard at times to judge your own players but you do have to question the quality of this Newcastle squad when there are so few current internationals in the ranks.
This week you have the four (Krul, Anita, Janmaat and Wijnaldum) away with Holland, Sissoko off with France, Mitrovic for Serbia and Mbemba away with DR Congo.
Even out of those, Wijnaldum is the only one likely to get a game for Holland, unless Janmaat goes straight into the team via van der Wiel’s suspension.
Newcastle have now accumulated countless players who are way off international class, such as Williamson, Taylor, Thauvin, Colback, Marveaux, Gouffran, Riviere and many others. Whilst the international days of Coloccini, Cisse and Tiote look to lie in the past.
Ayoze Perez is maybe the unlucky one to be from a country with a surplus of talent but in reality, Newcastle’s current (playing) internationals amount to Mitrovic, Mbemba, Sissoko and Wijnaldum, with Janmaat a possibility to return to the starting eleven
It is not the be all and end all to have players representing their countries but it is a decent reflection of the strength of the squad, if people independent of your club rate the players.
Norwich Manager Alex Neil:
“We had it with Southampton prior to the last break and look at our response since.
“Southampton was a poor performance so that week could not have got much worse, in terms of anyone looking at Norwich from the outside, but the response since then and what we have managed to do shows what the team is all about and how determined we are to do well.”
Team of internationals;
“We have 11 internationals away so three quarters of the squad who generally play all the time will not be getting a rest.
“The other guys will have a working period of three or four days and then they will rest up for three or so days and then we’ll have a normal working week leading up to Newcastle.”