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Opinion

Newcastle United found wanting through missing experience?

1 year ago
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Like the rest of you I was disappointed after Newcastle United failed to win, or even pick up a point, against Bournemouth.

For me, we played really well in the first half, especially the opening half hour, just couldn’t put the ball into the back of the net, or at least do it without a linesman automatically raising his flag.

The second half was rubbish, no getting away from it. Newcastle United huffed and puffed but seemed to lose the plot increasingly as the match wore on.

Frustration grew and whilst most of us moaned and groaned amongst ourselves, a minority voiced their displeasure.

Some boos (very small minority) at the final whistle but I’d guess almost exclusively from amongst our younger fanbase.

One player picked out was substitute Jacob Murphy, who was shocking. However, he has only ever started one Premier League match in his career and only 18 months was playing his football in League One. Not his fault that we got beat yesterday.

Watching the game unfold and the team temporarily fall apart, it did make me think once again about our summer transfer activity.

I still can’t believe that Rafa Benitez didn’t sign at least two or three older experienced players to help make the step up an easier process. Surely the only reason can be that he was blocked in any attempt to bring in players around the 30 or so age group, on higher wages and little or no sell-on value.

If you look at our team/squad, then there is a serious lack of Premier League experience, or indeed experience in any top tier(s), even amongst older players.

Of the 11 who kicked off, only Jonjo Shelvey has more than 50 starts in the Premier League.

In contrast, even Bournemouth have a team built on a base of most players now going into their third Premier League seasons as regulars. On top of that they signed the likes of (their man of the match) Begovic and Defoe in the summer who have bags of PL experience.

Even Newcastle’s older players such as Elliot, Lejeune, and Dwight Gayle, have very few starts at the top level, here or abroad.

Jonjo Shelvey was the exception of the starters but he failed to step up and rally the troops, Jamaal Lascelles was forced off but even the captain was making only his 20th start in the Premier League.

When signings are made in January, we desperately need players who can come in and do a job straight away, that means paying the price for Premier League experience.

It could save an awful lot of money and heartbreak longer-term.

Team and subs v Bournemouth with number of Premier League starts each player has had in their entire careers:

46 Rob Elliot

28 DeAndre Yedlin

20 Jamaal Lascelles

5 Florian Lejeune

34 Javier Manquillo

45 Matt Ritchie

105 Jonjo Shelvey

9 Isaac Hayden

11 Christian Atsu

30 Dwight Gayle

19 Joselu

Subs

126 Ciaran Clark

57 Ayoze Perez

1 Jacob Murphy

9 Karl Darlow

163 Mohamed Diame

22 Aleksandar Mitrovic

1 Jesus Gamez
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