It was a huge blow to Newcastle when left-back Jamal Lewis pulled up just 15 minutes in against Liverpool. Eddie Howe has confirmed the Northern Ireland international will miss the rest of the Christmas period.
This is a real shame for Lewis as he’s taken advantage of his second chance under new manager Howe. You could tell that the Magpies boss really rated him and liked his athleticism.
Who are Newcastle’s current options?
With Paul Dummett still yet to come back from injury, for the time being, he isn’t an available option for Newcastle. Whilst a reliable and underrated Newcastle player over the years, recently his injury history has limited his game time. Furthermore, the fact that he’s developing a reputation for injuries means it’s now always a risk to play him.
First option is Matt Ritchie who in recent years has dropped back to left-back and left-wing-back. For a while, under ex-boss Steve Bruce, the Scotland international occupied the position.
Having said that, as the years have progressed Ritchie has been less reliable in the role. He’s really struggled defensively dealing with many of the wide men the Premier League has to offer.
The other choice is Javier Manquillo, who usually starts at right-back but if needs be can play on the left too. If Howe decides to make this decision, he could then play either Jacob Murphy or Emil Krafth where the Spaniard would play.
The only problem with this option is ideally you’d want to keep Manquillo in his preferred position. Both Murphy and Krafth look fairly shaky defensively when they are put in at right-back.
They have the funds, the new owners should spend on a new left-back
With the budget not being an issue, it’s clear that they need to bring in a new left-back in January. Aside from Lewis it’s hard to have a lot of faith in the other options. Manquillo would certainly do a job there, but then that leaves the right-back slot vulnerable.
In addition, Newcastle desperately need better cover in general across the defence. Should England international Kieran Trippier arrive in Tyneside, a left-back is still needed.
Without Lewis it really does seem like there are scarce options for the Toon Army. Adding another left-back provides more options and cover.
A left-back is a position Newcastle should look to add to. Without Jamal Lewis, it does seem like the options are lacking. Should Trippier arrive on Tyneside and another left-back that provides the Magpies better quality in the full-back position.
Manquillo and Lewis would be great backup for Howe should he bring in new full-backs. Additionally, Lewis’ injury has not got an official return date as of yet and the options available aren’t promising.