Shay Given is everywhere at the minute singing the praises of Newcastle United as they head into the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

Last night Shay Given was on The Monday Night Club on BBC 5 Live where Mark Chapman asked the former Newcastle ‘keeper if the felt the Magpies had the squad depth capable of competing in all competitions this season.

It’s a valid question, especially as the squad depth is already being tested just five games in with a new injury being picked up on a daily basis it seems.

Shay Given says Newcastle’s squad looks stronger than last year

Thankfully there haven’t been any knocks too serious and Newcastle have been largely unaffected, but that luck surely can’t last forever and at some point Eddie Howe is going to have tough decisions to make.

However, Shay Given has looked at the positive side when he answered Chappers’ question saying: “That first game against Aston Villa I looked at their bench, [Callum] Wilson was on the bench, Harvey Barnes was on the bench, Elliot Anderson, there was lots of players on the bench who maybe deserved to start that game.

The UEFA Champions League trophy is seen on a plinth prior...
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“Whereas you look back at last season the strength and depth on the bench they didn’t have that so much.

“Time will only tell.”

The defence still looks weak if either Botman or Schar pick up knocks

Newcastle did recruit well in the positions they filled this summer, but there are still gaps. If anything happens to either Sven Botman or Fabian Schar then that could be a huge problem for Howe.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League
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The saving grace is that Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall are both versatile players and either could plug that gap in the centre of defence in the short term if needed.

This season is going to be a test in so many ways for Eddie Howe and the PIF in terms of assessing the squad depth required to compete in four competitions.

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