Newcastle United put up a good fight against Manchester United in the EFL Cup final yesterday, but ultimately came up short as the game highlighted the lack of quality still present in the squad with five players now vulnerable and fighting for their futures.
Five players need to step up between now and May
While it’s no secret that Eddie Howe‘s Newcastle have over-performed this season, yesterday’s cup final really hammered home the lack of strength and depth in the squad and The Telegraph reports that five players are now playing for their futures:
The article says: “The likes of Dan Burn, Fabian Schar, Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almiron and, even a fading Callum Wilson, have done brilliantly to get Newcastle where they are, but all are vulnerable.” The report goes on to speculate: “All are playing for their futures between now and May, whether that is at the club itself or as a first choice in their positions.”
The likes of Schar, Longstaff and Almiron all have amazing redemption stories this season. Many questioned if they had the quality needed to see Newcastle along on their new journey, but each one has stepped up and become an integral part of Eddie Howe’s team and all definitely earned their spot in the starting line-up at Wembley.
However, as good as they’ve been, it’s likely that all three of them have peaked and if Newcastle really want to push on and continue to challenge for Champions League places and cup final appearances, then the harsh reality is, we need better.
Meanwhile, Dan Burn has outdone himself over and over again in the Newcastle shirt. By his own admission he thought his shot at playing for Newcastle had gone when our ambitious owners took over, but he found himself among the first wave of Eddie Howe’s squad transformation and he hasn’t looked back. Burn has put in many solid displays at the back and has now made the left-back spot his own despite it not being his natural position.
That being said, Newcastle are still shopping in that left-back market which does put a question mark over Burn’s future, as it does that of Matt Targett too.
The inclusion of Callum Wilson on the list may seem a bit harsh to some after all he’s done for us, but he’s struggling for goals lately – not a story unique to Wilson at the moment – and his injury record has always been a cause for concern. Wilson barely got a sniff at Wembley as the Manchester United defence were able to snuff out every Newcastle attack.
It’s time for the new batch
We have record signing Alexander Isak waiting to make that spot his own and Wilson may find himself relegated to second-choice striker, and that’s before we get into the summer transfer window with The Telegraph speculating that “Newcastle will target a centre-back, a left-back, a centre-midfield player and as many as two forwards in the summer.”
Not all players mentioned are in the shop window, however. Almiron, for instance, has just signed a new contract with the club, but each of them will have to face up to the reality that their first-team place is at risk as Newcastle will be looking to bring in the next batch of players who can take the club to the next level in the coming transfer windows.