Form of these Newcastle United players is the key to turnaround
Now, more than ever, football is a squad game.
Every team that is successful has a great first eleven, with other players in the squad pushing them for their places in the team. That’s the theory anyway.
As we all know it doesn’t always work like that and I think most of us thought this Newcastle United squad going into the new season was threadbare at best.
However, the recent upturn in form, with wins against West Ham and Manchester United and a point against Wolves, has come with some unexpectedly good performances from players that under normal circumstances you wouldn’t expect to make it into the team.
Against Manchester United, Matty Longstaff scored the winning goal and rightly hogged the headlines, but the returning Ciaran Clark was equally outstanding in that match.
Slotting into a back three, Clark has been the epitome of composure on his return to action. What has made it even more impressive is when you consider that before the game against Manchester United he hadn’t played in the Premier League since our 2-1 defeat at Chelsea back in January.
We went into the Wolves game with the disheartening news that our player of the season so far, Fabian Schar, had picked up an injury on international duty.
That led to a recall for Federico Fernandez, who slotted into the back three and also provided the brilliant cross that Lascelles thumped into the back of the net.
Ahead of the West Ham game changes were desperately needed in midfield with Sean Longstaff suspended and his brother Matty needing a break from first team duties. Isaac Hayden returned to the team as expected, after a suspension of his own, but Jonjo Shelvey was also trusted with a start having found himself out of favour in recent weeks.
Shelvey was instrumental in the win, scoring his second goal of the season with a brilliant free kick.
The other scorers? Fernandez and Clark.
It’s absolutely vital if we are going to pull away from the relegation zone that every single player makes a contribution. Even if they are out of the team, they must be ready to step up when an opportunity presents itself, either through injury or suspension.
These Newcastle United players are doing that now and giving Steve Bruce some positive food for thought when it comes to selection for next weekend’s vital game against Bournemouth at home.
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