Rafa Benitez could field first 11 with only 25 starts for Newcastle United
The true scale of the Rafalution taking place before our eyes is starting to take real shape, as Rafa Benitez attempts to revitalise a failing club at all levels.
It is though with the Newcastle first team squad that the Manager has had to take the most drastic action.
The list of senior players going through the exit is set to grow to a full team and beyond, as for starters – Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote, Remy Cabella and Florian Thauvin are surely not going to be still at the club when we reach September.
Loan player Seydou Doumbia was never going to have his disastrous spell extended and on top of that, another seven senior players have been ditched by Rafa Benitez: Coloccini, Taylor, Marveaux, Obertan, Townsend, Wijnaldum and Cisse.
Most of the players listed above, should have been cleared out some time ago, but due to the disastrous management of Ashley, Charnley, Pardew, Carr, McClaren etc – Rafa has been left with this massive extra task, as well as the small matter of putting together a promotion team.
Clearing out so many players at once leaves a void and thankfully the Manager has acted swiftly to start addressing the problem.
What it means though is that whilst we are all looking forward to a newly fashioned fresh team under a more than competent manager, it does mean we could be left with a group of players who are all more or less starting afresh at the club.
This is a likely team to start the Championship season off at Fulham:
0 Matz Sels
69 Daryl Janmaat
10 Jamaal Lascelles
33 Chancel Mbemba
0 Jesus Gamez
0 Isaac Hayden
11 Jonjo Shelvey
0 Matt Ritchie
47 Ayoze Perez
3 Rolando Aarons
0 Dwight Gayle
The number before each player above is how many first team league games they have started for Newcastle so far, the combined total being 173.
However, if you substitute Adam Armstrong for Ayoze Perez, Grant Hanley for Chancel Mbemba, and Jamie Sterry for Daryl Janmaat, the total of previous league games started for Newcastle comes down to 25. Adam Armstrong having made one and Sterry & Hanley yet to feature in a first eleven for an NUFC league match.
That may be taking it to an extreme but even with the likely team above, you have eight players out of eleven where none of them have started more than 11 Newcastle league matches.
Making such big changes is clearly not something Rafa Benitez would have ideally wanted to do but he has been left with little choice. Continuing on with Coloccini, Taylor, Cisse and others would have brought further disaster.
It’s exciting having so many new faces and others such as Rolando Aarons who looks as though he will at last get a run in the first team BUT if this new group of players (plus others set to arrive) don’t gel instantly, then fans need to take into account just what lengths Rafa Benitez has had to take to address the nightmare he was left with.
It is all very well having the cash to spend but especially with this shorter close season, it is a big ask to be able to fashion an all new properly functioning team in such a short space of time.
The good news is though that the Rafalution is now well and truly underway and we can start taking steps forward once again, even if we will have the odd two steps forward one back still.
Best of luck to all the Newcastle players that Rafa Benitez believes in.
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