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Pre-season

Ciaran Clark quizzed on being played out of position

4 years ago
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Ciaran Clark was one of a number of players to be played out of position in the friendly at Preston Saturday.

Rafa Benitez once again used 22 players, as he had done at Hearts.

Chancel Mbemba playing the full game, whilst strangely keepers Darlow and Woodman shared the second-half, with Rafa confirming this was planned and not due to injury.

Preston 1 Newcastle 1

Elliot (Darlow 46 (Woodman 70)), Dummett (Clark 46), Mbemba, Lejeune (Manquillo 76), Hanley (Yedlin 46), Shelvey (Colback 46), Diame (Hayden 46), De Jong (Roberts 62), Aarons (Murphy 46), Atsu (Perez 46), Mitrovic (Gayle 46)

Ciaran Clark played left-back (as a one-off last season Clark played left-back in the 1-0 win at Bristol City with Paul Dummett dropped to the bench) and then centre-back, whilst Chancel Mbemba was right-back before moving into the middle.

Jacob Murphy played on both wings in the second-half, whilst right-back Javier Manquillo played right wing in his 15 minutes and young winger Callum Roberts was playing left-back.

Asked in an interview with the club’s own TV channel, Ciaran Clark said two things about so many players playing out of position.

The first thing is that Rafa Benitez tells the players where they play and the just get on with it.

Whilst the second thing is that Clark says it is basically just about everybody getting minutes on the pitch.

This may be true but there probably is a bit of an imbalance in the squad in certain position and too many players in others! Rafa Benitez revealing at the weekend that he needs to shift at least half a dozen senior players out of the club, partly to help bring in new signings.

Ciaran Clark talking to NUFC TV:

“It was a good workout (v Preston) and good to get the minutes under the belt.

“It caps off a decent week of training in Ireland. We did the gym work and the double training sessions over there – obviously we want to (now) play matches and get the minutes in.

“It was a good test (v Preston) and it is a draw at the end of the day but at this stage of the season, it is about getting minutes in and getting people through the games without injuries.

“Preston have had a couple more games and maybe an extra week or two training, so they are a fit team and we are obviously working on that.”

‘Interesting to see players playing in different positions?’

“Obviously the manager picks the team and where players are playing.

“If he feels players need to get minutes in, he will play them in whatever position he needs to. Another game comes around fast (Wednesday at Bradford) – that is all we want to do, play the game and be prepared for the season.”

The first team friendlies:

Friday 14 July – Hearts 1 Newcastle 2

Saturday 22 July – Preston 1 Newcastle 1

Wednesday 26 July – Bradford away 7.30pm

Saturday 29 July – Mainz away 4pm local time (3pm UK time)

Wednesday 2 August – Wolfsburg away 4pm local time (3pm UK time)

Sunday 6 August – Hellas Verona home 3pm

Under 23/Reserves pre-season friendlies:

Monday 17 July – Darlington 1 Newcastle 2

Saturday 22 July – Gateshead 0 Newcastle 3 (watch the goals HERE)

Tuesday 25 July – Whitley Bay (at Hillheads)

Thursday 27 July – Celtic (at Whitby Town)

Saturday 29 July – AZ Alkmaar or Whitby (at Whitby Town)

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