Number of minutes on pitch so far for Newcastle United players in pre-season friendlies
With only 10 days to go until Newcastle travel to West Ham, interesting to see how many minutes on the pitch for each of the Newcastle players in the friendlies so far.
So who have been the leading contenders so far and who is it that doesn’t appear to be a part of Steve Bruce’s plans?
The Newcastle United Head Coach has only Saturday’s home friendly with Stoke and Monday’s rematch with Boro after yesterday’s shambles, left to gauge which players should be used, once the competitive action begins.
Newcastle have played Crewe, Barnsley and Middlesbrough so far, with a maximum of 270 minutes available for each player.
Minutes played in first team pre-season friendlies so far, 24 Newcastle players featuring up until now:
45 Matty Longstaff
175 Sean Longstaff
Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Darlow, Murphy, ASM and Manquillo are the six with most minutes (145 or more) so far.
You would imagine Hayden, Darlow, ASM and Manquillo are certainties to start at West Ham, whilst it is looking increasingly likely that Sean Longstaff and Murphy will do so as well.
With no money spent on creative / attacking players so far and Murphy doing ok in the friendlies, every chance he will be in the starting eleven against the Hammers. As for Sean Longstaff, he looks set to play alongside Hayden (and possibly one other) in a two or three man central midfield. Hendrick is now away for most of these last two weeks of pre-season on international duty and will have featured in only one of five friendlies, whilst concerns now for Shelvey, as no reason given so far as to why he wasn’t in the squad for yesterday’s trouncing by Middlesbrough.
Even if new signings were belatedly made ASAP, it would surely be doubtful for them to be ready to start at West Ham, especially in terms of integrating with the rest of the team / squad.
So you then look at the next grouping of Newcastle United players in terms of minutes played in the friendlies so far and you find eight of them, all with 135 minutes behind them so far.
These are Clark, Dummett, Almiron, Atsu, Lejeune, Fernandez, Carroll and Yedlin.
Providing he stays fit, Carroll is the only available striker as things stand. Gayle facing months out with injury, whilst only 10 days before the start of the season, the club still refusing to comment on why Muto and Joelinton have taken no part in pre-season training.
Dummett is the only left-back so will surely start, whilst Lascelles (90 minutes so far) has hampered his own pre-season preparations with that sending off yesterday but will start at West Ham, with Fernandez you’d imagine, plus one of Lejeune and Clark if Steve Bruce went with a back five in the opening PL match.
A pretty depressing picture overall though in terms of pre-season preparations so far, as plenty of players (Atsu, Yedlin, Saivet etc) who looked to be heading out of the club, are instead regularly featuring in the friendlies. Due to a combination of not bringing in the essential signings that were needed, injuries, plus unexplained absences.
It is not exactly a new phenomenon to see Mike Ashley either refusing to allow proper investment in the squad at all, or leaving it so late for key signings to be made, that they never get a chance of a pre-season with new teammates and makes it all but impossible for the team to hit the ground running.
A mystery as to why Ashley does this and some fans are even of the belief that part of the reason is to save a few quid on wages by buying later. Refusing to compromise on transfer fees when buying players in the belief you can get better deals by waiting, is another one, which even if it proved true is also ridiculous logic, because even if you saved a few quid on slightly lower transfer fees the impact it has on pre-season preparations massively overrides that.
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