This is how the Newcastle United squad looks now 5 weeks ahead of new season
It is time to take stock with this Newcastle United squad.
Pre-season kicks off today at the training complex with players returning after their holidays.
So how is this Newcastle United squad ‘shaping up’ for the new season.
As well as Rafa Benitez and all the senior coaching staff having left, we have also seen Rondon, Kenedy, Barreca, Roberts and Diame all leave, with Ayoze Perez set to be announced as a Leicester player very soon.
So this is what the Newcastle United now looks like, just over a week before they head off to China and 38 days before the new season kicks off:
Goalkeepers: Dubravka, Darlow, Woodman, Elliot
Full-backs: Yedlin, Sterry, Dummett, Manquillo, Lazaar
Central Defenders: Clark, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Lejeune
Central Midfielders: Colback, Hayden, Ki, Longstaff, Shelvey, Saivet
Wingers: Ritchie, Aarons, Murphy, Atsu
Strikers: Gayle, Joselu, Muto, Almiron
These are the players (plus Perez) contracted to NUFC at this point.
There are added complication as well of course, with Atsu now injured and the likes of Lejeune and Yedlin recovering from operations and it remains to be seen at what stage they are at in their recovery.
Plus of course we have the ongoing transfer speculation surrounding Hayden and Longstaff, as well as concerns about how key players such as Schar, Lascelles, Dubravka and others will react to the departure of the manager and the overall mess/chaos at the club.
However, leaving all that aside, I have divided the squad as it stands, into how fit for purpose they would be, as things stand.
Definite first teamers:
Dubravka, Hayden, Longstaff, Lascelles, Ritchie, Almiron, Schar, Lejeune
Comfortable with them in the team on a regular/semi-regular basis:
Yedlin, Dummett, Ki, Shelvey, Fernandez, Gayle
Comfortable with them on the bench on a regular/semi-regular basis:
Darlow, Woodman, Clark, Atsu, Muto
OK to make up the outer reaches of the squad:
Need to move on:
Sterry, Lazaar, Colback, Saivet, Aarons, Murphy, Joselu, Elliot
In terms of numbers (28) things don’t look too bad but as for quality throughout the squad…?
By my reckoning, at least eight of the 28 have no part to play in the Premier League.
Then in my very top group you have a goalkeeper and three centre-backs, Longstaff where we have the potential but he has only started a handful of games, Hayden wanting to leave, leaving only Ritchie as the one guaranteed tried and tested player in the attacking half, plus Almiron having a massive weight on his shoulders – he played very well in the nine or ten weeks he played but is still to get his first goal or assist.
Plus I have tried to give it a positive edge, as Muto has shown absolutely nothing, Atsu has never convinced, whilst Gayle is still to prove he can score goals in the top tier.
You also can’t ignore the fact that there is now an even bigger massive imbalance between the quality and strength in depth we have in defence, compared to the attacking half
Things could get very messy very quickly.
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