Newsletter

Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!

Opinion

Grand delusion from fans on these Newcastle United players doesn’t help

3 weeks ago
Share

I was interested to see which Newcastle United players would make the cut on Saturday.

At 2pm the latest Steve Bruce selection made public.

The 11 Newcastle United players to take on Aston Villa and get the season properly kicked off.

There were three changes already from the opening day collapse against West Ham, Steve Bruce changing two of his three central defenders after only 90 minutes. Jonjo Shelvey was an enforced change but regardless of that, surely Joe Willock would have replaced somebody, whether Shelvey or whoever.

That is quite a substantial change after only that one defeat, a manager / head coach changing 30% of his outfield ten Newcastle United players.

I do though wonder, that on top of all of Steve Bruce’s massive and serious shortcomings, we are also seeing so often a shuffling of seats on the Titanic situation, when it comes to most selection choices of Newcastle United players.

When the team against Aston Villa was announced on Saturday, the reaction of Newcastle fans was pretty much universal, this is probably the strongest team that can be picked this season, with the exception of the injured Martin Dubravka of course.

I must admit, that when I generally read comments from many Newcastle fans about numerous NUFC players, I do wonder at what they see compared to what I do. I think many people are tunnel vision, they are so wrapped up in the team they support that they are blinded to reality, incapable of comparing the Newcastle United players properly to the competition.

When I was a kid, I blindly defended every single Newcastle United player. Even when we got relegated and were in the second tier, I would stick up for the lot of them, love is indeed blind when you are that age.

I feel a bit guilty here, it is like telling a significant part of the NUFC fanbase that Santa doesn’t really exist…the fact that most of these Newcastle United players aren’t very good. There, I’ve said it.

I was in disbelief when we saw new contract after new contract handed to current Newcastle United players in the past year or so, that disbelief multiplied any number of times when it came to the average reaction from supporters.

New deals / extensions handed to Shelvey, Clark, Dummett, Schar, Darlow, Manquillo, Murphy, Hayden, Fernandez and so on.

It is always a conundrum because I see most Newcastle fans talking about the team and squad not being good enough but when it comes to individual Newcastle United players, many of those same supporters change their tune. They pretty much like / rate everybody.

I hate to say it but I don’t think any of our centre-backs are very good, same with the central midfielders.

Personally, I think that Rafa Benitez made some very poor to average players look a lot better at times than they really are. As part of a working unit he devised to get the best collectively out of them, they shined very well at times as individuals within the relentlessly drilled set-ups that Rafa had them training in, preparation was everything ahead of matches. It didn’t work every time BUT overall, no doubt the Spaniard made so many players look better than they really are.

A problem then, that I think a lot of them then started to believe their own hype, after Rafa left we saw some shameful comments from certain players, talking Steve Bruce up and Rafa Benitez down.

As I say above, I don’t think any of our central midfielders or central defenders are at any kind of a decent level, same for all the defenders in reality.

Look at our team / squad overall.

I would say that Martin Dubravka, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson could easily play in most Premier League teams and not look out of place. Joe Willock will hopefully build on that brief spell last season and prove the same, of the rest, I think Miguel Almiron is a very decent player but one who has had been totally ruined by Steve Bruce but under a decent manager would be a real asset in the Premier League.

As for the rest…

Which players do you honestly think would be first choice if they moved to another Premier League club? That is all but the odd club who are certain relegation contenders, like say Norwich.

Freddie Woodman and Elliot Anderson have time ahead of them and unfair to judge them so far, as they have only stated two PL games between them so far.

As for the rest…

Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Karl Darlow, Mark Gillespie, Matt Ritchie, Jamal Lewis, Jacob Murphy, Javier Manquillo, Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Ryan Fraser, Joelinton, Dwight Gayle, Emil Krafth, Jeff Hendrick.

Some of them are obviously better than others but for example, which of these players above would get a game for say West Ham or Aston Villa if they had their full squad to choose from?

Fernandez I do like but he turns 33 in February and is on the decline, Mings and Konsa yesterday were far far better than any Newcastle central defender. Lascelles is vastly overrated by many Newcastle fans, Schar is very likeable and entertaining at times but not a very good defender.

As for our wing-backs / full-backs, Murphy and Ritchie are liabilities when it comes to defending a lot of the time, while going forward, they can do a bit but aren’t anywhere near good enough.

The likes of Hayden and Shelvey, nowhere near good enough. Shelvey stands around and can’t even be bothered to put the work in, whilst Hayden is so limited I can’t honestly believe what I hear from other fans about him. He tries his best but offers absolutely nothing going forward and for somebody who is so tall, how he can be so completely ineffective on set-pieces?

Imagine if Rafa Benitez had been allowed the £125m net spend to add the attacking players to the tight unit he had built from minimal investment. He’d finally been allowed Almiron who came along and made a massive difference as with his pace, Rafa could finally go on the attack a lot more, the final 16 games of the 2018/19 season seeing Newcastle with the fifth highest goals total and number of points.

Imagine if with that £125m he could then have been allowed to get on with it, secure Rondon for £16.5m, replace Shelvey and Hayden in midfield, invest in two proper quality wing-backs, bring in another striker and attacking player, whether it be Wilson and ASM, or whoever.

Instead we now have this total mess of Steve Bruce not having a clue of what to do with a mass of players who aren’t very good and who only as part of a disciplined well drilled unit / team can rise to the challenge in the Premier League.

It is quite amazing that Bruce isn’t scrutinised more by the journalists, certainly when you look at things like signing Jamal Lewis for £15m and he has been allowed only six minutes on the pitch since February. Lewis is 24 in January, he’s not a kid! Ritchie is looking well off the pace and with six goals conceded already, which could have been even worse this past week, is Lewis going to get in the team and if not why did Bruce sign him?

I also think we urgently need Manquillo on the right instead of Murphy, no world beater but certainly our best right-back option ahead of Krafth and Murphy. Yet the Spaniard has been totally sidelined by Steve Bruce.

Bottom line, Newcastle United desperately need to get a proper manager in, instead of this clown. If not, then Mike Ashley has no choice but to allow proper investment in at least three or four decent quality first team players in these next nine days, or else he is taking one of his most ridiculous gambles ever. Which is saying something.

Share

If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2021 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks