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I ranked all Newcastle United players out of 10 for both character and ability to see who has a future

3 weeks ago

After the impressive way Newcastle United have recovered this season and started to build the foundations for, hopefully, some hugely successful campaigns to come.

I got around to thinking about how the management at the Toon should be evaluating which players to keep for the long term, who to keep for the short/medium term to help the transition and who should be let go immediately.

It is no coincidence that results dramatically improved after players – think Trippier, Guimaraes, Burn, came in – who immediately showed leadership and character.

This, along with Eddie Howe’s hard work, attention to detail and man-management, had the effect of rapidly improving the performances of a number of players already in the Newcastle United squad, think Joelinton, Willock, Shelvey, Krafth, Fraser.

The importance of character – desire and determination, leadership and the ability and willingness to fit into a team system and ethic – is absolutely vital if a team has ambitions to improve. Skill and ability is, of course, also very important. A team, or player, lacking in one area or the other, however, will not fulfil its or his potential.

I therefore set about ranking each player in the squad out of ten for both character and ability.

Guimaraes comes out as a 10/10 in both areas, for example, whereas I’d give Lascelles a 9 for character but only a 6 for ability.

I also evaluated who to keep long term, mid term or let go, based on the following:

Anyone not hitting an 8 for character I would let go

Anyone hitting a 9 or above for character I would keep, at least for the short/mid term

Anyone with a total of 15 or less I would let go (unless they score a 9 or more for character)

Anyone totalling 16 or more (as long as they don’t have less than an 8 for character) I would keep at least short/mid term

Anyone totalling 19 or more – keep for long term and build the team around them

Some interesting decisions I would make based on the above are –

I would let Maxy go (he is only a 6 for character in my opinion and is not disciplined enough to play in any kind of system), keep Lascelles (he scores 15 but with a 9 for character) and I would only pick two players for long term, Bruno (10 character, 10 ability) and Trippier (10 character and 9 ability).

Who you earmark for the longer term at Newcastle United depends on the level of ambition the club has.

You will obviously need better players if your goal is to be top four, win the league or a European trophy, than if you will be satisfied with a top six / eight finish and a European spot. I am assuming the goal of the club is to compete with, and eventually be, the best. I would therefore only identify definite long termers if they hit a 19.

This means that we need to sign around another 12 players with a combined score of 19 before we can consistently challenge for silverware and be a top 4 side.

You only have to look at the Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea squads to see this in action.

Or at the Man U squad to see how a lack of character can make a side mediocre.

How many transfer windows will it take to get these players in? This will determine when we can mix it with the very best.


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