Which Newcastle players would get in your North East Team of the Season?
A bit tricky to be honest if you are a Newcastle fan, as most of us will see very little of the region’s other teams.
Although I must admit to looking forward most Saturday nights and Sunderland’s ‘highlights’ on Football On Five.
The simple thing for many fans would be to say that Newcastle are the only north easy club in the top tier, so they must have the best players…
However, Middlesbrough are fifth and in the play-offs, so some of their team can’t be too bad.
Beyond that, finishing bottom of your division two seasons in a row takes some doing, so not sure is anybody has impressed for the Mackems?
Some local journalists do have an advantage as they have to often cover more than one of the region’s clubs.
One of those is Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo, who has picked his North East Team of the Season and included six Newcastle players….
MARTIN DUBRAVKA (Newcastle United)
Since joining Newcastle from Sparta Prague in January, Dubravka has produced a string of impressive displays that have propelled the Magpies away from the relegation zone. A calm and assuring presence, who dominates his penalty area, he will become a permanent signing when the Magpies trigger a clause in his deal this summer.
DEANDRE YEDLIN (Newcastle United)
The American full-back has always boasted plenty of pace and energy, but in the past his defensive capabilities have let him down. Not anymore. Yedlin has posed a consistent threat on the overlap this season, beating opposition full-backs to deliver a cross from the right flank, but crucially, he has also become a much more reliable defender. Strong in the tackle and positionally secure…
DANIEL AYALA (Middlesbrough)
JAMAAL LASCELLES (Newcastle United)
The linchpin of his side’s successful survival battle. A leader who revels in wearing the captain’s armband, he has produced a string of hugely-impressive defensive displays and can count himself extremely unfortunate not to have been selected for international honours.
GEORGE FRIEND (Middlesbrough)
JONJO SHELVEY (Newcastle United)
He might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but Shelvey has had a magnificent season at the heart of Newcastle’s midfield. He is arguably the best long passer in the Premier League, and his pinpoint long balls have set up a succession of goals for those playing in front of him.
MO BESIC (Middlesbrough)
ADAMA TRAORE (Middlesbrough)
AYOZE PEREZ (Newcastle United)
Perez has had his critics during his time at Newcastle, but the Spaniard has been one of the Magpies’ most consistent and influential players…and successfully linked Newcastle’s midfield with their attack. His technical ability has never been in doubt, but he has added some physicality and resolve to his play that have made him an even more effective attacker.
KENEDY (Newcastle United)
Since arriving in January, the Brazilian has significantly enhanced Newcastle’s attacking threat, with his pace and power on the flank making him an extremely difficult player to contain. His two goals in the 3-0 win over Southampton were excellent, and Benitez will be doing everything he can to try to retain his services.
REECE STYCHE (Darlington)
Scott Loach (Hartlepool United), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Florian Lejeune (Newcastle United), George Honeyman (Sunderland), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Lewis Grabban (Sunderland), Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough)
RAFAEL BENITEZ (Newcastle United)
Matthew Bates was a contender thanks to his efforts at Hartlepool United in the last couple of months, but Benitez’s achievements at Newcastle merit a huge amount of praise. Denied a significant transfer budget last summer, Benitez still managed to guide his side into the top half of the table, improving a host of players working under him along the way. He has built up an extremely close relationship with the Newcastle support, and it is essential he is tied down to a new deal this summer.
For me, the no-brainers above would be Dubravka, Lascelles, and Kenedy, three players who surely better than any others in their positions elsewhere in the north east. A bit of a worry that two of those are loan players…though the keeper should agree a permanent deal this summer and fingers crossed on Kenedy.
With Yedlin, Shelvey, and Perez, I’m not quite as convinced.
I certainly find it hard to agree with the descriptions above, as none of the three have been consistent all season.
Yedlin is still very up and down, Perez often flatters to deceive, whilst Shelvey was poor until we moved into 2018.
Maybe this trio do deserve to be in this north east team selection but I think I would have Diame ahead of all three. He struggled to even get into the Newcastle team before late December when injuries helped him secure a regular spot – but from then on he has arguably been Newcastle’s best player.