Paul Merson was covering Newcastle’s hugely important clash with Watford for Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday this afternoon.

Allan Saint-Maximin got the first goal of the game and that looked like being enough to seal a crucial victory for Eddie Howe’s side.

But Joao Pedro got the equaliser with two minutes to go to puncture the atmosphere around St James’ Park and ensure it was another disappointing afternoon.

Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood made their Premier League debuts in black and white and after the game, Merson delivered his verdict.

(Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)


When asked about Wood’s maiden Magpies outing, Merson said: “He was poor. He had half a chance which was a bit high and it hit the roof of the net.

“When you make your debut, you usually play well, don’t you? He didn’t get the service, I feel for him in that way. He didn’t really touch the ball. I’d be surprised if he touched it 20 times in this game (it was 35), and that’s not his fault.

“The amount of times the ball was out wide and it didn’t come in was a lot. He didn’t look like scoring in a month of Sundays and it was a bit worrying.”

On Trippier, he said: “He looked class. He looked class – you’ve bought him and he looked comfortable. You can tell he can play.”

Newcastle United v Watford - Premier League
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was a tough first outing for Wood and he might have expected to get better service in a game where the onus was on Newcastle to get forward and win.

But it was a similar story between the two sides in September when Wood was still a Burnley player and Steve Bruce was still manager.

Newcastle dominated, only scored once, sat back onto what they had and conceded late to Watford. That means it is clear the issues in the side run deeper than Wood. If he gets chances, he should score goals.

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