Newcastle Squad Much Tougher Says James Milner


James Milner, who last night became the most capped England 21 player ever with his 30th cap, has talked recently of the new Newcastle’s squad toughness since Sam came in as manager.

In the 5 games we’ve played this season there have been some admirable qualities exhibited by the team and as Sam has said, things will only get better from now on as the players get to know each other and the team starts to gel.

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James Milner – terrific player for Newcastle over last two seasons

In the games played so far this season under Big Sam, the team has displayed the following qualities:

  • Every player has given 100%
  • Heads never dropped when we missed a chance or the team conceded a goal
  • The bench is strong and we can change games with our substitutions
  • Our defense has been solid and we are hard to score against – and therefore hard to beat
  • With our strikers and goal-scoring midfield we are liable to score at any time

James Milner talked about our new squad yesterday:

“Our resistance has already been tested, you saw that against Wigan. But that’s what we need.” “We now have a squad of players that will put their bodies on the line for Newcastle United.” “All we want now is to get wins for the fans.

“Against Wigan a number of players got knocks, but we battled through it and kept going.” “We got the three points and that’s the important thing.” “It shows we have great spirit and what a great squad togetherness we have here.”

One advantage of having a strong squad is that the substitutes can change the course of the games. With our strong defense we are always going to be in there with a chance to win the game with a late goal. That happened on Sunday with the introduction of Oba Martins and the great goal he set up for Michael Owen. Not only does a strong squad put pressure on players to perform when they are in the side but it also gives us some tactical flexibility.

United tried both a 4-3-3 formation and a 4-4-2 system in their game against Wigan, and Milner can of course operate just as effectively on wither wing.

Milner went on:

“Teams will play different ways against you and you have to adapt and break them down.” “We changed it a little bit against Wigan and it worked.”

“We have a lot of players in the squad that can play in more than one position.” “That helps the gaffer out, and that is a real positive to have.”

Yes, we should have the players this season to do very well – just how well is the big unknown. Our start to the season is the best in the last 10 years – so that cannot be too bad. We’ll try not to get carried away too much – but what’s true is we need as many wins and as many clean sheets as we can get in every game we play. That concentration of effort should serve us extremely well this season – and it will be nice to get wins in the last 10 minutes by our extra fitness, mental strength and tactical flexibility due to a strong bench. Converting games from 1 point to 3 points is what it’s all about if you have big expectations – and we have big expectations.

Comments welcome.



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7 comments so far

  • Lin

    Sep 8, 2007 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #1

    Our start is good partly because the teams we met are not strong enough. I hope we can get through the tests given by the stronger teams like man u, liverpool, arsenal,ect.

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  • t-g-w

    Sep 8, 2007 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #2

    I’m very impressed with our form this season but I would say I am worried about our home form. Away from home home we have improved dramatically, beating Bolton and we were ahead twice against Middlesborough (disappointing we couldn’t hold on!). Such results away from home are more than adequate for a good season, provided we can get all the points at home. I know we had a scoring jinx over our heads at ST. James’ since Feb, and now we’ve got over that (Owen scoring against Wigan), I hope more goals will follow. With no disrespect, we should have beaten Aston Villa at home. If we win nearly every game at home and win the odd one away and have a few draws away. it will be a very good season indeed. Away form looking much better but need better form at the fortress Sam said he wanted St. James’ to become.

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  • Stephen

    Sep 8, 2007 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #3

    I think the good thing is we drew against Boro away from home we wernt that good to be honest and still got a draw out of the game if that was last season we wouldnt of scored away from home example from away from last season we lost to wigan fulham,charlton,everton,boro,aston villa, and more wthout scoring one single goal……………..

    This season even if we aint playing good we are grinding our results and the players are showing heart and passion for the shirt which was lacking for a few years i think

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  • Tom from Aus

    Sep 8, 2007 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #4

    i think we have a chance at beetin liverpool and man u and cheski and maybe arsenal. i believe that we can liverpool cause at the moment they do not have stevie g. man u are playing badly, chelski no frank lampard but arsenal?

    i think the carling cup game comin up will be a good test for nufc, a real look to see how good we actually are.

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  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 8, 2007 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #5

    A good start to the season and still have Faye, Beye, Barton, Emre and Duff to improve the current squad.

    We’ve many reasons to be optimistic this season…..

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  • Joe

    Sep 8, 2007 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #6

    Arsenal are still a very strong side but Arsene has contempt for the Carling Cup so I don’t know if he will field a strong starting 11!? Considering we got points against United, Arsenal and Liverpool last season I don’t think that will be the ‘big test’ of this NUFC side…the big test is remaining consistent throughout the season i.e.beating Liverpool but not beating Derby

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  • dragoner

    Sep 8, 2007 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #7

    i dont think we should have beaten Villa at home, i feel a draw was the right result, we didnt play well but defended well

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