There were 25 Newcastle players named in the official Premier League squad this summer.
Those senior players supplemented by the likes of Mikel Merino who qualified as an Under 21 player and additional to the 25 who were named.
The question Newcastle supporters are increasingly asking, is how many of the Newcastle players below are good enough to play in the Premier League.
My answer is six.
I have divided the squad up into descending categories.
Starting with those I think are good enough at the minute to play for a Premier League top half team, then those simply good enough to play for a lowly top tier team, then good enough to come on as a PL sub, before those who I still haven’t decided on, and then the bulk of them (15) who are no better than Championship level – in my opinion.
Good enough to play in Premier League Top 10:
Good enough to play in Premier League:
Jonjo Shelvey, Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Mikel Merino
Good enough to be a Premier League Sub:
Not seen enough yet:
Isaac Hayden, Rolando Aarons, Florian Lejeune, DeAndre Yedlin, Jacob Murphy, Freddie Woodman
Championship Level :
Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Mohammed Diame, Chancel Mbemba, Javier Manquillo, Ayoze Perez, Joselu, Henri Saivet, Massadio Haidara, Karl Darlow, Jesus Gamez, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jack Colback, Jamie Sterry
Going through the categories, I think Jamaal Lascelles is the only one to show he currently has the ability and character if playing for a top half Premier League club.
The next group of Shelvey, Clark, Merino, Gayle and Ritchie can all do a job to varying degrees for a bottom half team such as Newcastle in my opinion, whilst I think Merino is capable over a period of time of showing he could join Lascelles at that higher level.
I think Atsu might be good enough to get on the bench of a PL lower team but after that, it is slim pickings.
I have put half a dozen others in a ‘not seen enough yet’ category and for me they still have it all to prove.
In the short-term I am most hopeful of Yedlin showing he can handle it, He certainly has the pace and at times his attacking play is very good – but his defending so far this season is unconvincing. In the longer-term, Woodman is an exciting prospect and capable of going to the very top level.
As for the other four of Lejeune, Murphy, Aarons and Hayden, I have maybe been a little generous, as they have been pretty poor overall, but for me there is still hope for them.
As for the rest, it isn’t that they aren’t capable of playing the odd match in the Premier League but I don’t think any of them would get a game as first choice at another top tier club.
Harsh maybe…but true.