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Opinion

Newcastle United players that Eddie Howe can rely on

2 weeks ago
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Eddie Howe has been getting to know the Newcastle United players this past week.

At least that is, the ones not away on international duty.

Thankfully (in this instance!), Newcastle have far few internationals than most Premier League clubs, so the new NUFC boss has the luxury of almost an entire two weeks working with the vast majority of the squad.

Plus, it has been an earlier finish than usual, with all of Newcastle’s international players apart from Miguel Almiron (finishes in early hours of Wednesday morning) having their final game of this international fortnight on either Sunday or Monday gone.

Obviously, the quicker that Eddie Howe can properly gauge the strengths and weaknesses of this group of Newcastle United players, the better.

So to give the new NUFC Head Coach a heads up, this is my guide to the 26 Newcastle United players he has inherited:

Rely on without question

I think only two qualify for this description, Callum Wilson and Martin Dubravka.

It isn’t that they are faultless and world beaters BUT both are very good players and easily the two most reliable NUFC performers at either end of the pitch.

Has his own category

Allan Saint-Maximin.

I would always have him in my team from this current group of Newcastle United players but I don’t think rely on without question, is in any way the right description for ASM. The stats say of course that NUFC hardly won a match under Steve Bruce when ASM wasn’t in the team, which sums up these past two years really.

Absolutely essential that ASM and Eddie Howe quickly bond and the former Nice player produces.

Right positions in right set up

I think that the likes of Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar and Joe Willock can all reach a high level of performance quickly under Eddie Howe. All three were messed around by Steve Bruce but I see them as key Newcastle United players under the new Head Coach, if NUFC are to start and play better football and win a decent number of matches in the weeks and months ahead.

Another one with his own category…

I have to say that I am not a Jonjo Shelvey fan BUT I can see why Eddie Howe would give him a try.

It comes down to whether Shelvey if prepared to do the hard work, both in training and in matches.

He can’t just stand around next to the central defenders playing safe balls around the back and then the odd pointless 80 yard ‘Hollywood’ pass. Instead, Shelvey has to get about the pitch, linking play up, prepared to get the ball in forward positions, look to make something happen, attack and defend…you know, just like what is expected of players in his role at pretty much every other club.

My guessing is Eddie Howe will give Jonjo Shelvey his chance BUT will very quickly hook him unless he shows he wants to play for Newcastle.

Limited and need to raise their games

Rafa Benitez made Jamaal Lascelles and Isaac Hayden look far better players than they have ever done since.

I think both are limited in their positions BUT capable of far better than we have seen these past two years.

They have to be at their very best in my opinion, to be competing for a place in the team the rest of this season.

Capable of better?

Joelinton simply can’t be as poor as we have seen these past 79 PL appearances. Eddie Howe may just get him playing in and around the opposition box and make things happen, create chances and improve on a woeful six PL goals so far in almost two and a half years.

Sean Longstaff is another victim of Steve Bruce. He has got ability that we saw all too briefly under Rafa and only glimpses since BUT he can get about the pitch and is one of very few NUFC players capable of scoring from outside the box.

Ryan Fraser…shocking for Newcastle so far but Eddie Howe got him playing at Bournemouth. Can he do it again? Very much in the balance.

Another one messed about by Steve Bruce, Jamal Lewis surely has to be given the chance to show he isn’t a £15m buy that can’t get a place in this really poor defence at the moment. Can get up and down the pitch and Newcastle most definitely need more pace and energy in this team.

Dependable and that makes them good enough..

Federico Fernandez and Javier Manquillo, what you see is what you get.

With the current options I think they have to start, hopefully Eddie Howe thinks so too.

Squad players

You have the three other keepers, with Karl Darlow, Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman, none of who for me are first choice Premier League level, although still time and hope for Woodman to make it.

As for outfield players, you have Jeff Hendrick, Jacob Murphy, Dwight Gayle, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Emil Krafth.

I could have put simply not good enough for certain Newcastle United players in this section but I am trying to make this a positive exercise!

Forget about

Sadly, he picks up injury after injury and it has got to the point with Paul Dummett, where if he is ever in a position this season of being fully fit and available, it will be a big bonus.

One for the future

Elliot Anderson has been training with the first team for some considerable time now BUT I can’t see this relegation struggle as the right time to throw the 19 year old in at the deep end.

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