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22 years ago today Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0 – The 3 current NUFC players who would make that team

3 years ago

It was 20 October 1996 at St James Park, Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0.
Yes, exactly 22 years ago to the day when we watched Kevin Keegan’s team totally dismantle the reigning champions.
There was no fluke about it either, brilliant attacking play and goals that Man Utd simply had no answer to.
The only negative though was that this result was seven months too late…
On 4 March 1996, Newcastle had also battered Man Utd, but couldn’t put the goals on the end of it.
Peter Schmeichel producing a one man show and his goal leading a charmed life, as chance after chance was created, but Newcastle just couldn’t get the goal that would surely have ensured the Premier League title that season. Instead Eric Cantona scored with pretty much the only chance the visitors had that night.
Returning to 20 October 1996 and that five goal victory, this is the team that lined up:
Pavel Srnicek
Steve Watson
Philippe Albert
Darren Peacock
John Beresford
Robert Lee
Peter Beardsley
David Batty
David Ginola
Alan Shearer
Les Ferdinand
Comparing the midfield and attacking strength compared to what we see today is painful to say the least.
None of the current Newcastle midfield or attack would get within a million miles of that team.
Jonjo Shelvey is decent but nowhere near that quality.
As for the likes of Ayoze Perez up against Shearer and Ferdinand…
However, I do think that two, arguably three, of Newcastle’s current squad would make that team which beat Manchester United 5-0.
I really liked Pav and on his day he was a very good goalkeeper but I have seen enough of Martin Dubravka already, to put him in ahead of Pavel Srnicek.

Shay Given is by a massive distance the best goalkeeper I have ever seen at Newcastle these past 40 years but I think Dubravka is showing he has every chance of being the second best I have seen.
As for elsewhere, I would have either Lascelles or Lejeune in that 1996 team ahead of Darren Peacock, the long haired defender did a very good job back then in a very attacking team, but I do think Lascelles and Lejeune look excellent players and who knows what potential they’d have if playing in a decent team.
A bit more controversial maybe but I would probably have both current centre-backs in that 1996 team. Philippe Albert was an excellent player and great at bringing the ball out of defence but was he a great defender? A good one but maybe not great.
We all know what the strengths are of this current NUFC squad, not that there are many.
The goalkeeper and centre-backs (Fernandez is decent as well) are a real solid base and if only Rafa had been backed with the creative and attacking players that were desperately needed, we might have a team.
Which current Newcastle players, if any, would you put in that team which delivered Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0?


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