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.
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 â€“ 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.â€ “We now have a squad of players that will put their bodies on the line for Newcastle United.â€ “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.â€ â€œWe got the three points and that’s the important thing.â€ “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.â€ â€œWe changed it a little bit against Wigan and it worked.â€
“We have a lot of players in the squad that can play in more than one position.â€ â€œThat 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.