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Alan Shearer on players Newcastle United need to avoid relegation, ambition, miracles and reality

1 month ago
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Interesting from Alan Shearer.

The Newcastle United legend invited questions and came back with some intriguing answers.

The former NUFC and England Captain was carrying out his Q and A session on behalf of The Athletic.

Alan Shearer with some very interesting views on VAR, refereeing in general these days, who will win the Premier League and players who particularly stand out for him these days.

Of course, it was the questions regarding that football club which finds itself currently second bottom of the Premier League that particularly intrigue us…

Here are just a few of the questions that Alan Shearer answered, well worth reading the whole feature.

Alan Shearer answering questions from subscribers to The Athletic:

‘Realistically what and who do Newcastle need to bring in this January to stay up?’

“They need a lot of players.

“I’d say five or six new faces if they want to stay up and I’d start with a completely new back-four and a goalkeeper.

“They’ve really struggled in those positions. The squad has gone stale.”

Difficult to disagree with any of that.

With very rare exceptions pretty much every position in this Newcastle United team needs a major rise in quality.

Alan Shearer specifically mentions the defence as needing essential attention. Martin Dubravka is the only player that there can truly be a debate about, in terms of whether or not he needs replacing. After a sizeable time missing at the start of last season, Dubravka came back into the team and did very well, however, thrown in at the deep end this season and six matches played, the goalkeeper has found it tough playing behind this defence. Whether he could bounce back properly with new recruits in front of him, is a big question.

‘Do you think Newcastle are getting relegated?’

“Yes, sadly, although I hope I’m wrong.

“I’ve not seen any evidence that they’ll have enough. They’re so bad defensively I struggle to see how they can survive.

“Newcastle have 10 points after 18 games. They have played three times more than Burnley who are a place above them and two more than Watford who are three points ahead with a better goal difference.

“You would tend to think that 35 or 36 points would be needed to stay up which means that Newcastle need to get 26 from 20 games.

“That means winning eight or nine. They need more than a miracle.”

Again, difficult to argue. A run of positive results needs to start very soon, as even if other clubs continue to struggle as well, it will make zero difference.

Given Newcastle’s predicament would you be looking to sign players to try to stay up or get a head start on recruitment to get you out of the Championship?

Would it not be better for Newcastle to be relegated and let Eddie Howe sort out a long-term strategy without constant firefighting?’

“I would do everything I could to stay up and I hope that’s what the owners think, too.

“We’re told that funds are available, that Newcastle want to start challenging within three to five years and to do that, they’re going to have to spend.

“Going down is never good and wishing for relegation is dicing with disaster. It’s very dangerous to think that way.

“There were two demotions under Mike Ashley and both times the team immediately came back up, but it’s a horrible league to get out of. You can’t guarantee it would happen a third time.”

Yes, nothing can be taken for granted.

At the very least, progress under the new Newcastle United owners would be significantly put back, if this current relegation struggle was to then be followed by building a team / squad for promotion.

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