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Opinion

The team based on 11 Newcastle United players to play most minutes in pre-season friendlies

3 weeks ago
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With only six days to go until Newcastle travel to West Ham, interesting to see how many minutes on the pitch for each of the Newcastle United players in the pre-season friendlies.

So have the right players got the right number of minutes this summer?

Newcastle have played Crewe, Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Stoke, with a maximum of 360 minutes available for each player (ignoring injuries etc).

These are the eleven highest:

191 Barlaser, 208 Almiron, 208 Carroll, 223 ASM, 225 Fernandez, 225 Yedlin, 235 Murphy, 250 Darlow, 255 Manquillo, 265 Sean Longstaff, 298 Hayden

I would say that out of these 11, the likes of Almiron, ASM, Fernandez, Darlow (in Dubravka’s absence) Manquillo, Hayden and maybe Sean Longstaff, would have been expected / predicted to be first choice for the opening game against West Ham.

Carroll of course has ended up as the only fit and available striker throughout the friendlies, a positive that he has stayed fit (so far!) but he will surely be only an impact sub this coming season, with possibly the odd start.

Yedlin was on his way out of the club this summer but has ended up still hanging around and picking up more minutes than most, Manquillo having to play left-back yesterday and so only by default Yedlin getting 90 minutes.

It is put forward as a positive that ‘young’ players Barlaser and Murphy have got a lot of minutes. I don’t think it has been a negative and good luck to both of them but I don’t believe there was / is any plan for them to have played so often or to be near the starting eleven this season. Plus, as they turn 24 in January (Barlaser) and 26 in February (Murphy), is there still room for enough improvement where they can progress to be Premier League level players? My money is on them still both going out on loan, so long as the talked about signings are made and injuries don’t prove too serious and widespread in the squad.

A concern that so many intended regular first team contenders have got so few minutes. The likes of Joelinton (17), Hendrick (60 minutes), Ritchie (80), Lascelles (90) and Shelvey (118).

Whilst on the other hand, players who don’t have a future at Newcastle have ended up involved in all four friendlies, such as Saivet and Atsu (plus Yedlin, Barlaser and Murphy also involved in all four games, who I don’t think will be involved much, if at all, this coming season).

It is a mystery as to why Mike Ashley is so resistant to the idea that getting new signings in as early as possible should be top priority in a window.

Minutes played in the four pre-season friendlies, the other 19 Newcastle United players:

0 Lazaar

0 Aarons

0 Schar

0 Dubravka

17 Joelinton

17 Muto

18 Gayle

45 Krafth

45 Matty Longstaff

60 Hendrick

80 Ritchie

85 Saivet

90 Lascelles

110 Gillespie

118 Shelvey

135 Clark

135 Dummett

135 Lejeune

152 Atsu

Now the big question is, will the speculated new signings happen and how quickly can they then be successfully integrated into the Newcastle team, having had no pre-season or friendlies with NUFC?

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