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England mania strikes at Newcastle United

5 months ago

I haven’t really seen it mentioned but Newcastle United could / should have an England player at the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year.

Of course, we have more pressing matters to consider as Newcastle fans, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is something of a transformation.

A current England player signing for Newcastle United.

Kieran Trippier was a key player when Atletico Madrid won the title in May and the now NUFC defender named in the La Liga team of the year. Trippier then moving straight on to the Euros and playing in five of the seven games at the finals, including starting the final itself and laying on the goal for Shaw against Italy.

Kieran Trippier is now 31 but as we have seen is clearly still in his prime, looking a class act for Newcastle. With the World Cup in Qatar only nine months away, he looks pretty much a certainty to be included.

Certainly Gareth Southgate has indicated that, as since that Euros final against Italy in July, England have played eight games. The last two in November saw Trippier miss out through injury but the other six saw him named three times in the starting eleven and three times on the bench.

Anyway, my ‘England mania’ mention in the title of this article isn’t as it happens, about Kieran Trippier.

It is actually (bizarrely) about Eddie Howe’s naming of the 25 man Newcastle United Premier League squad (see below) to see out the rest of the season.

When I say Newcastle United struck by England mania, this is what I am referring to…

Whenever England are getting close to appearing at the finals of the Euros or World Cup, ahead of the final squad being named, there is a media overload talking about who is going to be in the final 23 man (26 were allowed at last summer’s Euros to help with any extra injury / health issues in this Covid era) squad.

Ironically though, the vast majority of the talk isn’t about the best three or four players that will be named by the England manager, instead there is endless talk about the worst three or four players that will be named, the least best.

The thing is, everybody knows who the most obvious three or four are, even who the most obvious eleven, or even seventeen / eighteen or more, so the rationale is what is the point of talking about those players, as everybody is already in agreement on who they should be.

Which then means…the big discussion is all centred around who should and shouldn’t be included in the last few places of the England squad.

It is crazy really, at least to me, because if these players are the 21st, 22nd and 23rd choices (or 24th, 25th and 26th as was the case at the latest Euros) in the squad, then in reality they will be the 21st, 22nd and 23rd choices when it comes to naming the actual team in any match where a result is needed.

Bottom line, so much talk and energy wasted on players who will almost certainly play no part in the tournament, unless there is a serious number of injuries.

Which brings me back to Newcastle United…

After the Eddie Howe 25 man squad was announced on Thursday night, I was amused at how many fans had so much to say about who had been left out and just how bothered they were about it. The reality is that just like England, even if Eddie Howe had included these players in his squad, there was clearly minimal / zero chance of them playing any part, because he thinks at least 20+ others are more likely to be selected anyway.

Amongst the many comments I have seen, these are just a few…

“I really feel for Ciaran Clark, he has always tried and worked hard, he wanted the best for us.’

“I simply can’t accept dropping Lewis from the 25 man squad.”

“Isaac Hayden??, I definitely wouldn’t have left him out, should have been Sean Longstaff.”

To be honest, I don’t really rate Isaac Hayden anyway, although he would probably have still sneaked into my NUFC 25 man squad, if not for the fact that as the official announcement made clear (and the player’s own personal statement) that injury means he would be very unlikely to be available for many, if any, of the remaining 17 games. Remember, just over three months to go until the end of the season.

As for Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis, reality is that they have done very little in the last year and a half to suggest they will be any great loss. I am not victimising them, it is just fact, compared to the levels I am expecting from the likes of Trippier, Burn and Targett, why would you want to be making a big deal out of who got left out.

Reality is that as we all know, we have a squad that is majority populated by players who aren’t good enough. That is why Newcastle are struggling this season and why half a new outfield starting team had to be brought in last month. Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce leaving a shocking mess behind them.

I would have lost zero sleep if any of these players had been left out…Krafth, Murphy, Fraser, Lascelles, Longstaff, Dummett, Gillespie, Ritchie, Willock, Hendrick, Woodman, Hayden, Lewis and Clark.

That is 14 players who were in the 25 man squad for the first half of the season. I don’t rate / like Shelvey either…but in our squad I suppose he has to be kept in for the time being because of so many other players not of the quality needed.

I’m not saying all the 14 above have never played well, or being decent servants to the club, just the reality that as things stand now, I don’t see them as key to Newcastle United’s potential survival.

I am instead very much focused on the five new signings and the likes of ASM, Schar, Dubravka, Fernandez, Joelinton, Manquillo, Wilson etc as the players who can hopefully see us alright.

I’m sick of these years of arguing about which of the least worst Newcastle United players should make up the rest of the team, over and above the small number of decent quality players.

This is the start of something far better and time to be looking forwards, not backwards at the low standards so many Newcastle fans had come to accept as the norm.

Newcastle United official announcement – 3 February 2022:

‘Newcastle United have named their 25-man squad for the second half of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

The January transfer window closed on Monday night, meaning all Premier League clubs had to resubmit their squads to the league this week.

Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimarães and Dan Burn all joined the Magpies during the window, while Matt Targett arrived on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Isaac Hayden suffered a long-term knee injury in December, so has not been named in the squad for the second part of the season, while defenders Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis also miss out.

​​Newcastle United’s 25-man squad for the second half of the season is: 1 Martin Dúbravka 3 Paul Dummett 5 Fabian Schär 6 Jamaal Lascelles 7 Joelinton 8 Jonjo Shelvey 9 Callum Wilson 10 Allan Saint-Maximin 11 Matt Ritchie 13 Matt Targett 15 Kieran Trippier 17 Emil Krafth 18 Federico Fernández 19 Javier Manquillo 20 Chris Wood 21 Ryan Fraser 23 Jacob Murphy 24 Miguel Almirón 26 Karl Darlow 28 Joe Willock 29 Mark Gillespie 33 Dan Burn 34 Dwight Gayle 36 Sean Longstaff 39 Bruno Guimarães’


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