Shay Given, who is probably now the favorite to take over as captain at Newcastle has talked about the lack of squad depth â€“ particularly in defense and midfield.
While Shay knows that Sam Allardyce is scouring the market for talent it’s not at all easy to pinpoint who he may be after as he has denied he is after some of his well publicized targets like Brede Hangeland and Curtis Davies.
It appears that Leighton Baines is holding out for a move to Everton and Luke Young has just signed for Middlesbrough (wasn’t he good enough?) so as we said who Sam is after is getting difficult to know.
Let’s take a look at what Shay Given said about the situation.
Here’s what Shay said yesterday:
â€œThe managerâ€™s working hard behind the scenes and I really think we need some players,â€ â€œThe squadâ€™s the lightest that itâ€™s been for as long as I can remember.â€ â€œItâ€™s extremely important that we get some players in, but the manager knows that, heâ€™s not silly. Offensively weâ€™re very strong and as strong as most clubs in that department.â€
â€œBut we donâ€™t have too many defenders floating about these days. I know weâ€™ve got some young defenders coming through, but itâ€™s a lot to expect of them to be playing every week in the Premiership.â€
â€œTheyâ€™re learning their trade and itâ€™s important we get some experienced defenders in to help them develop and improve. Weâ€™re extremely short at the moment.â€
Sam’s aware of that and we think his nightmare scenario is that Newcastle will suffer an injury meltdown again this season. That would impact any manager’s plans â€“ which is why Sam went like a steam train when he first was appointed and brought in four very good players for little cost. But then he has been frustrated by being denied recently by a number of his targets â€“ whoever they were.
Shay went on:
â€œThis time last year we were starting our European campaign and playing against Celtic has brought it home just how much weâ€™ll miss that this season, itâ€™s a long season, but on the other side of the coin we can really concentrate on the Premiership and getting up the league.â€
â€œLast year we were playing on a Thursday and traveling back to play on a Saturday lunchtime and that wasnâ€™t ideal. But thereâ€™s no point me standing here and saying I wonâ€™t miss Europe, because I will.”
“Itâ€™s important we improve on our league position form last season and get back there next summer. We possibly didnâ€™t have a big enough squad to play in both Europe and the Premiership last season, itâ€™s a big ask and you probably need two full teams, we didnâ€™t have that strength in depth last season.”
Â “Â Weâ€™re very thin on the ground, we need to improve on last season, because our finish last time was a big disappointment to everyone.â€
Well everything Shay says is right on in our opinion. It’s interesting that Shay says he will miss Europe becasue that’s one of the reasons we are having trouble bringing in the better players to the club – according to Sam. We must have a bigger squad this season â€“ even though we don’t have European competition.
The injuries are starting to pile up again with Taylor, Butt, Emre, Barton, Owen, Ameobi and Babayaro all injured although some of these are niggles and we would expect Owen and Ameobi to take some part against Juventus tomorrow. We hope they feel pressured in their positions now – given the expert finishing of Luque and Martins on Thursday night.
Competition in the squad is what we wantÂ at the clubÂ – but first we have to make sure it’s big enough.