Roy Keane is hardly a big fan of Newcastle United given his rivalry with Alan Shearer and his time spent as Sunderland manager, but he is expecting another special season from the Magpies.

Eddie Howe‘s started the new campaign perfectly on Saturday. Newcastle beat Aston Villa 5-1 at St James’ Park, with Sandro Tonali producing a man of the match performance on his Premier League debut.

The Magpies were outstanding in pretty much every department. Alexander Isak looked incredibly sharp in front of goal, while Anthony Gordon continued his impressive form from pre-season.

It all culminated in an emphatic win for Newcastle, who many pundits had tipped to miss out on Champions League football before the season kicked off.

Now Keane has given his verdict, and he is pretty defiant about the Magpies’ hopes of finishing in the top four.

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
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Roy Keane thinks Newcastle will ‘definitely’ challenge again

Keane was on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday, covering the Brentford vs Tottenham game and Chelsea vs Liverpool.

In the aftermath, they discussed Newcastle’s start to the season, and Keane gave his verdict on what to expect from Howe’s side this year.

“Newcastle are definitely in the mix for top four,” he said.

“I think they have got stronger, their recruitment has been excellent.

“Okay, they have different challenges this year with the Champions League but the feel good factor is there and the manager has proven to be an absolutely brilliant manager.”

‘Excellent’ recruitment and a ‘feel good factor’ at Newcastle

Keane is very complimentary towards Newcastle, and it is easy to see why. He believes the recruitment has been ‘excellent’, which is no shock after the debuts from Tonali and Harvey Barnes. They were outstanding on Saturday.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Premier League
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The belief is certainly back on Tyneside. It is as if last season never ended. The performance against Aston Villa was incredible, and Howe must be absolutely delighted with his team.

The manager is the difference maker for Newcastle. He is what gives this club that extra edge right now, and long may it continue.

With a stronger squad and an ‘absolutely brilliant’ manager, it is easy for Keane to see why Newcastle are once again going to challenge for a place in the Champions League.

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