One player who we think is going to benefit greatly from being extra fit and will likely blossom under Big Sam’s guidance will be an unlikely one to many fans â€“ but we think Peter Ramage could well be the surprise of the season for Newcastle.
He had an excellent first half partnering Rozehnal last Thursday and with Taylor again injured we think the central pairing of Rozehnal-Ramage could well get the nod from Sam in our first game at Bolton in a couple of weeks.
We’ll explain the logic of our choice.
Yes – we know we are bringing in new center-backs and Peter may be struggling to get his place in the team once new players get settled in – but we think Peter’s a little like Aaron Hughes. Aaron was hardly ever injured and kept playing game after game with solid if not spectacular performances. Aaron racked up more than 200 appearances for Newcastle before leaving the club for Aston Villa two years ago.
Peter’s similar in that he always puts in steady if unspectacular performances. Ramage says he’s never been fitter at this point before a season opener – and while he thought the Austria trip was really tough – nevertheless thought it was well worth the effort.
Sam has already challenged both Huntington and Ramage to play so that it will be hard for Sam to drop them when they are in the team. Sam said a couple of weeks ago:
â€œI have no problem with Ramage and Huntington â€“ they had massive parts to play here last season.â€ â€œâ€œThey were in the team last year and gained some valuable experience.â€ â€œI would expect that would improve them for this season.”
â€œThey should make the team better and make themselves better because of their experience.â€ â€œThe challenge for them this season is to get in the team.â€
â€œI need to improve my defensive line. Everyone is talking about defenders, but I want those two to say â€˜hey gaffer, once I get in the side, you wonâ€™t be able to get me outâ€™.” “â€œThat will be a very good competition, if I can build it like that.â€ â€œâ€œI have got that on the front line, but I think we are still light of three or four players.â€
Peter is the type of player Sam was himself and what Sam wants his defenders to play like â€“ don’t mess around, put safety first and do as little as possible before clearing the ball to a team mate.
We think Peter fully understands this mind-set – and how he plays the game in any case. Ramage has and always will be 100% committed to the Newcastle cause – being a lad born in the famous football town of Ashington. This is an important season for him and we hope he’s the surprise of the season for us â€“ because we’d like to see him continue his career at Newcastle and not somewhere else in the Premiership.
Only time will tell.
We know this may not be a popular view of Ramage for this coming season – but that’s what we think – and comments are very welcome.