Sam Allardyce talked again today about Newcastle’s squad and in particular about one of his star players â€“ Michael Owen. With all the hoopla surrounding Michael during the summer let’s take a look at what Sam has to say on Michael’s position â€“ both at Newcastle and on a personal level also.
As usual Sam’s words are worth a close scrutiny â€“ as he comes across so sensible and down to earth.
This is what Sam had to say today to Paul Gilder of the Journal:
“Michaelâ€™s relishing getting started next season,â€ â€œI have listened to what Michael has said about all the long dark days he has experienced, about doing all that rehabilitation work on his own, about wondering how long it was going to take and about having to be patient; he has come through that difficult time and he has come through it not just a stronger player but also a better person.
â€œWhen youâ€™ve had a career-threatening injury like Michael has, itâ€™s a life-changing experience. But he has come out the other side and Iâ€™m hoping both Michael and ourselves will see the benefits from that next season.â€
As we all know Michael has taken some heat from areas of the press for the last six weeks or so – as he has been linked with leaving Newcastle a number of times. Owen has said nothing â€“ maybe because he was sick of all the banter â€“ or maybe he wanted to see what his options were. But since his release clause in his contract was leaked – Newcastle have made massive changes. Sam Allardyce became manager and Mike Ashley â€“ an English Billionaire with very high ambitions – has come in and now owns the club.
In other words Newcastle have almost become a new team fired by both Mike Ashley’s and Sam Allardcye’s ambitions â€“ especially in Sam’s case. We also think what Owen now has is a manager who understands Owen, wants him to succeed – and we think will make him both a better player and a better person. We say that because Sam’s secret seems to be he does that for all his players – and he has already talked about getting much closer to Michael the person.
Sam has already indicated he is â€˜100% certainâ€™ Owen will be in his United side at Bolton on August 11, and will spend the 10 days away convincing the striker he has made the right decision. With Obafemi Martins having also expressed a desire to remain at the club Sam believes he has good attacking options for the coming season.
Sam went on:
â€œThe speculation has been around all summer and there is nothing I can do about it,â€ â€œWhat I can do is sit down and talk (to Owen) and we can get used to each other and start working well together. I hope we can have a long partnership together at Newcastle.â€
â€œIâ€™ve got the strikers I want here and Iâ€™m looking forward to working with them,â€ â€œTo have Shola (Ameobi) and Michael back from their injuries, to have signed Mark Viduka and to have Obafemi Martins in the squad gives me a potent and terrific strike-force. I just have to keep them fit.â€
Well we agree with that and of course there will be terrific competition for places. While some Newcastle fans have blasted Shola Ameobi on our Newcastle Blog site – we are positive about Shola. The poor guy has played for two years while injured â€“ and while he looks awkward a lot of the time – he can be a nightmare for defenders to mark because he is so unorthodox. Also his attitude is just 100% right â€“ and he will fight for his place in the team. Like any youngster brought up in the Newcastle area – he provides the local passion and fire that is also present in players like Steven Taylor and Peter Ramage. Every club needs local players that fans can identify with.
Sam seems to have electrified the Newcastle club after only six weeks at the helm – but of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating – and we’ll have to see the start we get off to in the league – which will be important. Certainly Sam seems to be doing all the right things. After the 10 days of team bonding and training regime is complete – we don’t expect to hear much about players who still want to leave. We feel anybody who is not happy will be moved out.
We also hope some players will be moved in â€“ before the 10 days is up â€“ as we understand the Newcastle officials are still working feverishly on the transfer front – behind the scenes.
Your comments and opinions always welcome.