Stepping up to the Premier League was always going to be a tough call for Newcastle United, along with the other promoted clubs.

Much has been made of the small net transfer spend made available to Rafa Benitez.

Only £11.5m net spend for the Magpies, compared to £40m+ for both Brighton and Huddersfield.

Maybe though it wasn’t the actual size of the transfer fees that was the biggest problem.

In his past career, Rafa Benitez has been a manager who has definitely veered more towards more experienced players, rather than relying on youth.

I can’t believe he wasn’t desperate to add Premier League experienced players in the summer and with limited funds, you would have been looking at mainly older players, with high wages.

Certainly the media constantly told us in the summer window that Rafa wanted this type of player and it seems clear that he was blocked in doing so.

Buying players with no future increase in transfer value possible, was once again deemed unacceptable by Mike Ashley.

You can’t ignore just how little Premier League experience there is in the current Newcastle squad.

These are the players who Rafa relied on against Leicester, with the number of Premier League starts each one has made in their entire career:

12 Karl Darlow

32 DeAndre Yedlin

10 Florian Lejeune

131 Ciaran Clark

38 Javier Manquillo

51 Matt Ritchie

12 Isaac Hayden

9 Mikel Merino

6 Jacob Murphy

34 Dwight Gayle

23 Joselu


59 Ayoze Perez

11 Christian Atsu

22 Aleksandar Mitrovic

Ciaran Clark is way ahead of the rest and Matt Ritchie only had one top tier season with Bournemouth before this one with Newcastle.

Javier Manquillo is actually third most experienced in terms of the Premier League in that starting 11 and he actually played his previous matches on loan, at both Liverpool and Sunderland.

Rafa Benitez must be given the flexibility and backing to bring in Premier League quality and experience in January, otherwise things are going to be really tough.

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  • ghostrider

    Looks pretty experienced enough to me, considering we weren’t going for a top 10 finish or a Europa, champions league or title.
    In fact it’s impressive when you consider we’re newly promoted.
    What’s not impressive is in how they’re being coached to destruction.

    • Peter Stabler

      Who would you like coaching them rather than Rafa and his team?

      • ghostrider

        As it stands right now I’d take Slaven Bilic in a heart beat.
        If I had to choose after a takeover with plenty of transfer cash and wages no problem for a manager and his buys, then I’d go for someone like Luis Enrique or Laurent Blanc or Ronald Koeman.

        • hetonmag

          You want to stop heading the ball mate have you plucked these names out of the sacked manager’s book of facts.

          • ghostrider

            Most, if not all managers get sacked or forced to step down.
            Would it be wise for me to pick Guardiola or Mourinho?
            I gave names of what I’d be more than happy to have over Rafa and a whole host more over him if I was made to choose.

  • Wor Lass

    It`s obvious when you think about it, I suppose, and it is a real problem but what about the three players he is currently sidelining? Mitro is getting derisory cameo appearances and has, as you point out 22 PL appearances, Mbemba is lucky if he gets in the squad and has 33 plus this season`s tally while Jonjo – currently a spectator – has 116 if my addition`s right. That`s 161 appearances virtually ignored. Meanwhile, Perez, who has a respectable 59 PL games can`t do any more than chase the ball and close down opposition players in between falling over and grimacing at the ref. If Rafa desperately needs PL experience then he should start using what he`s got between now and whenever he`s given enough money to buy someone else. Starting with Jonjo for Isaac, Mitro for Hoss and Dummy (69 PL games – but obviously injured so far) for Manquillo. If Lascelles isn`t fit then I`d play Mbemba at CB with Clark – he`s got about 4 times as much PL experience as Lejeune, who looks a decent prospect but hasn`t quite got up to PL speed. I would suggest that our problems really stem from a lack of creativity/passing ability in the middle, inability of our striker (Hoss not Dwight) to stick the ball in the net, lack of leadership at the heart of defence and having an honest but cr*p LB. If he doesn`t want to start with either Mitro or Jonjo at least bring them on with enough time to actually influence the game and the result. This isn`t an attack on Rafa – I want him to stay and develop the club under new owners – but he can`t be always above criticism. Something`s not right and needs to change.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      He`s lost the plot.

    • mentalman

      we’ve got another experienced defender in gamez who can’t get a game, fair enough he’s not got the premier league experience but he’s played at a good level in spain and was captain which is something else we’ve been missing recently

      • Wor Lass

        I forgot about SloMo – as 1957 points out, he`s THE most experienced PL campaigner with 190 appearances. No wonder he looks kn*ackered!

    • hetonmag

      Can’t play Mbemba at CB he’s poor on the air, if I had to play him it would be as a defensive midfielder. Your right about one thing creativity we haven’t got a Silva or a Hazard we have Jonjo who hits one Hollywood pass out of twenty goes, if you haven’t got a Beardsley type player in your squad it doesn’t matter who the strikers are be it Mitro or whoever they are never going to get the goals required to win a game of football.

  • Leicester Mag

    Another reason for the lack of PL experience could of course be that most of the players aren’t good enough for the PL. No one else would play them.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      The Mackem`s wouldn`t start Hoss, Perez or SloMo (batteries not included)

      • Leicester Mag

        Slo Mo is the only player I’ve seen who makes Shola look like Usane Bolt

  • TheFatController

    We need Shelvey in showing the form that destroyed Bournemouth and Watford

    And bring on the mitro that scores international goals regularly in a mini league where Wales are their highest profile challenger by a street…yes, Wales. Not weak teams like Spain, or France.

    And after mbemba stopped West Brom scoring – yes, free scoring West Brom, I know – get him back in.

    Onwards and upwards.

    • 1957

      Wales topped their group (ahead of the mighty England) at the last Euros and got to the semi finals by beating the then 2nd ranked team in Europe, losing to the eventual winners who beat France.

      Spain of course came second in their group and went out in the round of sixteen.

      You want to make a point about Mitrovic fine but don’t misrepresent the abilities of other countries.

      • TheFatController

        I haven’t a clue why you’re saying Wales are like a top PL team standard when they didn’t qualify for the World Cup?

        Also, Spain are one of the World’s best teams, red hot, stuffed Italy in qualifying.

        Mitro scores against Austria Wales Georgia and Moldova, whereas Newcastle play against Chelsea, Man Utd – the gulf in class is huge.

        So you use one good performance in the recent history of Wales and one bad one in the recent history of Spain and think you’re a genius ?

  • 1957

    Surely PL experience doesn’t just come from starts, any appearance gives you some experience. Benitez could of course play his most experienced PL squad member with around 190 total appearances…SloMo. Just goes to show PL experience isn’t a real benchmark if the players you buy are c##p.