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Opinion

Mark McGhee says Leigh Griffiths good enough for Newcastle United

4 years ago
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Mark McGhee has claimed that Leigh Griffiths is more than good enough to play for Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Now assistant to Gordon Strachan in the Scotland set-up, the former Newcastle striker thinks the Celtic forward has progressed so much in the last 12/18 months, he could easily be playing for a team like NUFC in the top tier.

Mark McGhee watches lots of matches and was at Brighton’s 1-0 win over Newcastle nine days ago, saying ‘absolutely no danger’ when it comes to Leigh Griffiths handling the Premier League.

There is always debate about players/teams doing well in Scotland and how they would/could do in England.

The bottom line in recent times is that decent Premier League strikers don’t end up in Scotland and forwards moving in the other direction rarely end up as a success in England.

Leigh Griffiths himself moved from Dundee to (then) Premier League Wolves back in 2011 and couldn’t get a game.

Going back on loan to Scottish Premier League club Hibernian for two years, he eventually went back to Wolves and at last got regular football…but only because they were in League One.

Wolves then were happy to sell him to Celtic and he has scored goals for fun since returning north of the border.

A great example to back up the gulf in class between club football in Scotland and England, is shown by Scott Sinclair.

Since moving to Celtic he has scored 24 league goals in 35 starts and 7 sub appearances, whilst his entire Premier League record in England is only 13 goals in 117 league appearances.

At that Brighton v Newcastle match, if you are honest then neither Joselu or Hemed are first choice Premier League strikers who will regularly get goals in the top tier, though playing in the Scottish pub league no doubt they would rack up the goals.

Leigh Griffiths could move to and play for an English Premier League club but he wouldn’t score goals, up front is the position where you have to have investment, and it has been a major handicap to Rafa Benitez.

The Liverpool result/display was an achievement considering the options available to the two managers, especially restricting the visitors to so few chances, however the lack of quality and threat provided by Joselu and Ayoze Perez was apparent to everybody.

When Rafa Benitez is next allowed to go shopping, let’s hope he isn’t forced to head north of the border!

Mark McGhee speaking to Glasgow Evening Times:

“A year to 18 months ago if someone down the road had said to me ‘could Leigh Griffiths do well in the Championship?’ I’d have said ‘He is a finisher. In the right team then probably.’

“Now if someone asked if he could do well in the Premier League I’d not hesitate.

“His all-round game has improved so much.

“Remember I watch these games all the time.

“Last week I was at Brighton against Newcastle and Leigh could have played in either of those teams. Absolutely no danger.”
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