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Jonathan Woodgate verdict on Newcastle United, Joelinton, Eddie Howe and Big Dan Burn

4 months ago
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Jonathan Woodgate has been talking about Newcastle United.

Specifically, the brilliant job that Eddie Howe has done after inheriting a total shambles left by Steve Bruce.

Jonathan Woodgate is probably the most talented centre-back that most fans have seen play for Newcastle United, even though he played so few games, before heading for Real Madrid’s treatment room.

Woodgate knows a thing or two about centre-backs though and has picked out one of Eddie Howe’s signings for special mention.

“Dan Burn [has been outstanding] as well.

“Signing him from Brighton, Eddie must have done his homework on him. He’s relentless when it comes to getting players in and looking at what attributes they have.

“Burn’s come in to Newcastle and he’s been one of the top signings.”

Asked though to pick out the real stand out player who has been transformed under Eddie Howe, there could only be one…

“I’d say Joelinton.

“He come from Hoffenheim as a £40 million striker. I didn’t seem him as that player, I didn’t think he was clinical enough, and he was in and out of the team. When you go to Newcastle and you put the iconic number 9 shirt on, it becomes difficult because they’ve had legends in that role. I mean the main man Alan Shearer, the top Premier League goal scorer, it’s a burden on you. It’s like when you go to Man Utd and put 7 on. It’s difficult.

“For Eddie Howe to identify that he can play as an 8, just shows how much of a good coach he is.

“He’s identified attributes that Joelinton’s had, put it into practice, and it showed that he can carry that ball up the pitch. He can press, he’s aggressive. He’s got that eye for a goal, as an 8, but not prolific as a 9. Joelinton has been a revelation for me. I’ve watched them a few times this season, and he’s been the one player who’s looked outstanding.”

Jonathan Woodgate speaking to Genting Casino:

‘How much credit do you think Eddie Howe deserves for the impact that he’s had since going in there [Newcastle United]?’

“Huge.

“I think when he first went in, it wasn’t easy.

“He had a transfer window which helped. He’s got good players and he got good characters in.

“And he’s done an exceptional job, unbeaten for eight games, which in the Premier League is really difficult to do.

He’s got them out of the relegation zone. I like the signings of Trippier and Dan Burn, they’ve been exceptional – I know Trippier’s injured but even though he’s injured, he’ll still give you that leadership around the club.

“I can guarantee those training sessions they’re doing are intense. I had one of his coaches when I was at Bournemouth, Stephen Purches. His sessions were brilliant, really intense. He’s turned the club around and I hope they stick with him for as long as they can because he’s an exceptional young English manager who one day will manage England in my view. I think he’s that good.

“The job he did at Bournemouth, bringing them all the way through the leagues, to the Premier League, staying in the Premier League for five seasons, he will be England Manager one day. Newcastle must stick with him. They must back him. Give him money for signings, because he’ll do a good job.”

‘Of those players that he’s been working with, any individual who’s stood out for you?’

“I’d say Joelinton.

“He come from Hoffenheim as a £40 million striker. I didn’t seem him as that player, I didn’t think he was clinical enough, and he was in and out of the team. When you go to Newcastle and you put the iconic number 9 shirt on, it becomes difficult because they’ve had legends in that role. I mean the main man Alan Shearer, the top Premier League goal scorer, it’s a burden on you. It’s like when you go to Man Utd and put 7 on. It’s difficult.

“For Eddie Howe to identify that he can play as an 8, just shows how much of a good coach he is.

“He’s identified attributes that Joelinton’s had, put it into practice, and it showed that he can carry that ball up the pitch. He can press, he’s aggressive. He’s got that eye for a goal, as an 8, but not prolific as a 9. Joelinton has been a revelation for me. I’ve watched them a few times this season, and he’s been the one player who’s looked outstanding.

“Dan Burn as well. Signing him from Brighton, Eddie must have done his homework on him. He’s relentless when it comes to getting players in and looking at what attributes they have. Burn’s come in to Newcastle and he’s been one of the top signings.”

‘Eddie’s done this a few times in his career, where like you said, he typically will sign players where he does a lot of homework, or of players that he’s familiar with before, like he worked with Trippier at Burnley. Obviously at Newcastle, they’ve got more money than God. How important is it to make sure you’re bringing in the right guys and how do you find those guys?’

“You’ve got to have a balance in your squad of senior players, young players and players who are reaching their prime. You’ve got to do your homework when recruiting. You’ve got to know personalities. You’ve got to know family background, any problems that they may have had. You have to know everything.

“Liverpool are a great example of a club that gets recruitment right, they are meticulous. I had the pleasure of working there for eight months (as a Scout) and learnt a hell of a lot. I’m sure Eddie Howe will be the same. You have to be meticulous. You have to know the characters that you’re bringing into the building. If a player turns up, and he’s disruptive and he’s getting left out of the team, what’s his attitude going to be like? The next minute, you’ve got four players who have a clique and then it gets difficult.

“If you have senior professionals, the likes of Trippier, Dan Burn, Lascelles, who can then stitch a dressing room together, it’s always a positive. Leaders are massively important. Having senior pros in your football club that set the standard each day is huge.”

‘Do you think that Newcastle are going to lay down a marker in the summer and sign some players tell the rest of the football world ‘we’re not messing around’?’

“I think they’ll sign players from teams that are between eighth and fifth in the league. I don’t see them getting Champions League players yet, I really don’t. I know they’ve got Trippier, but he wanted to come back to England. Leaving Atletico Madrid, you’re leaving Champions League Football.

“To really get top players, they’ll need a couple of seasons and will need and to develop as a club. If you get all these players in at once, does it always work? I’m not so sure. They’ll have to be meticulous about who they sign and what positions they go for.”

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