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4 Newcastle United players named in this North East Team of the Season

2 months ago
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Which Newcastle United players would get in your North East team of the season?

A bit tricky to be honest if you are a Newcastle fan, as most of us will see very little of the region’s other teams.

The bare facts on our local rivals this 2020/21 season are that whilst NUFC finished 12th in the Premier League, next highest were Middlesbrough, 10th in the Championship.

After that you next have to go down as far as Sunderland, now looking forward to a fourth in a row League One season, having finished only fourth in the third tier and losing to Lincoln City in the semi-finals of the play-offs.

You then drop to the fifth tier of English football to find Hartlepool, currently in fourth with one regular season match still to play, they are already guaranteed a play-off spot and hopefully will return to League Two via these play-offs in June.

The simple thing for many fans would be to say that Newcastle are the only north east club in the top tier, so they must have the best players…

However, some local journalists do have an advantage as they have to often cover more than one of the region’s clubs.

One of those is Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo, who has picked his North East Team of the Season and included four Newcastle players….

Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United)

‘He didn’t make his first league appearance of the season until February, but having replaced Karl Darlow in the Newcastle team, Dubravka quickly set about confirming his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the country.

The Slovakian, who will hope to start for his country at the Euros this summer, produced a string of fine displays in the final three months of the season, with his stand-out save denying Ayoze Perez in the dying seconds of Newcastle’s 4-2 win at Leicester.’

Jamie Sterry (Hartlepool)

Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough)

Dion Sanderson (Sunderland)

Marc Bola (Middlesbrough)

Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough)

Joe Willock (Newcastle United)

‘When Steve Bruce signed Willock on loan from Arsenal in January, he said he wanted the 21-year-old to increase his side’s goal threat. Four months on, and it is safe to say he delivered on that score.

Willock rewrote Newcastle’s record books as he finished the season by scoring in seven successive Premier League matches. Energetic, athletic and creative, the youngster’s future will be one of the key talking points all summer.’

Aiden McGeady (Sunderland)

Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United)

‘Yes, he missed a big chunk of the campaign because of Covid. Yes, he remains worryingly injury-prone. But in terms of North-East football, Saint-Maximin remains by far the most exciting player in the region.

There were times in the final few months of the season when he was all-but-unplayable, with his searing pace and exhilarating dribbling ability bamboozling the opposition. His best performance came when he left the bench to completely transform April’s 2-1 win at Burnley, and Newcastle need to do all they can to hold on to him this summer.’

Charlie Wyke (Sunderland)

Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)

‘Like Saint-Maximin, Wilson suffered an injury-hit campaign. And like Saint-Maximin, Newcastle were a completely different proposition when they had their leading scorer in the team. Signed for £20m from Bournemouth last summer, the England international has already proved a snip.

His first season on Tyneside ended with him having scored 12 goals from 25 Premier League appearances. His best performance came in the 2-0 win at Everton, and keeping him fit will be one of Newcastle’s key priorities next season.’

SUBSTITUTES

Karl Darlow (Newcastle), Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), Denver Hume (Sunderland), Grant Leadbitter (Sunderland), Isaac Hayden (Newcastle), Rhys Oates (Hartlepool), Duncan Watmore (Middlesbrough)

For me, the no-brainers are all there in terms of Newcastle United players in the first (North East) eleven, with for me in order – Wilson, Willock, ASM and Dubravka.

Then after that trying to gauge whether players from other (lower division) North East teams have been stand out at their level. Which surely they would have to have done, to then be chosen above Premier League alternatives.

Interesting that the only Newcastle United central defender who makes the matchday 18 outlined above, is Isaac Hayden, who has filled in at centre-back a few times this past season.

Ironic, as under Rafa Benitez, the same central defenders were seen as the strongest part of the NUFC set-up, sharing the credit with Dubravka as in 2017/18 and 2018/19 only six Premier League clubs conceded fewer goals than Newcastle United.

Nice to see former NUFC right-back Jamie Sterry doing well, hopefully set to bounce back with Hartlepool.

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