Full-Back has long been a problematic position for Newcastle, with only Paul Dummett proving to be a consistent performer there.
Much of Dummett’s time on the field this season has been as a third centre-back. Rafa Benitez’s preference for that system has thrust Matt Ritchie into a wing-back role, at which he has excelled.
Rafa is constantly trying to strengthen there, as seen by the failed Jordan Lukaku swoop and Antonio Barrecca’s disastrous loan.
We analyse the current senior full-backs at Newcastle, and suggest who should stay, and who should go.
Paul Dummett – contract expires June 2022
When he burst onto the scene as a youngster, fans often criticised the Welsh international. Many said he would never make the grade as a Premier League player.
Roll on a few years, and he is now considered one of the best defenders at the club.
It is hard to remember when he has let the side down, and is an example to younger players.
His versatility to play in the middle or wide make him a manager’s dream. His solid displays, and leadership on the field, have seen him deputise as skipper in Jamaal Lascelles’ absence.
He is probably one of the first names on Rafa Benitez’s team sheet nowadays, and as a local lad will hope to be at the club for years to come.
Verdict: Keep at all costs, and offer him an extended deal in the next 12 months.
DeAndre Yedlin – contract expires June 2021
Yedlin’s pace always makes him a threat going forward. Yet it is his defensive frailties that often concerns fans.
Rafa never seems to have total faith in him either, often chopping and changing the right-back slot.
Still only 25, his best years should be ahead of him, but he needs to improve his game when he does not have the ball.
He has made a number of errors by lunging into silly challenges, and has given away needless free-kicks and penalties as a result.
If he can cut out the mistakes, and prove that he has more than just speed as a weapon, he could still become a pivotal player.
But with constant rumours of Newcastle looking at bringing in competition, it is clear that time is running out for him. If a signing comes in, he may become an asset from the bench.
Verdict: Retain him and see how next season goes before reviewing his contract.
Javier Manquillo – contract expires June 2020
It would be fair to say that fans were somewhat underwhelmed when Manquillo arrived in 2017. He was seen as a stop-gap signing. Someone that Rafa had trust in, having managed him before.
But he has never cemented a place in the side, with many of his appearances being on the left, when Newcastle’s lack of investment meant they were without a recognised left-back when Dummett got injured.
With a left foot used mainly for standing on, he never looked comfortable there. And his lack of pace meant he was often exposed.
For much of the time, he has looked no less comfortable on the right. Although, arguably, his best spell came in his last four games of the season, before being left out at Fulham.
But you would have to think that Rafa will be looking to bring someone in at the position, and it is likely to be at the Spaniards expense.
Verdict: Sell him, as long as a replacement can be brought in.