Sam Allardyce has talked to the Newcastle Journal today about the goalkeeping situation at Newcastle.
Steve Harper has started the season in outstanding form and has been keeping regular goalkeeper Shay Given out of the side.
We’ll take a look at what Sam had to say but still expect Harper to be in goal in our crucial league game Monday evening at Derby County.
Steve Harper – looks likely to keep his place at Derby County
Sam told the Journal this morning when asked by Stuart Rayner if he thought Given would put in a transfer request as he did in 2001 in similar circumstances:
â€œWeâ€™ll cross that bridge when we come to it,â€ â€œItâ€™s very, very good to have two quality keepers fighting for one place.â€â€œStevie Harper has not put a foot wrong in the games heâ€™s played, weâ€™re undefeated and heâ€™s had two clean sheets (in four games),â€
â€œShay did very well against Barnsley, he didnâ€™t have a lot to do but kept a clean sheet, then didnâ€™t get selected for the next game because of the sheer form of Steven Harper.â€
â€œShay wasnâ€™t happy because he wants to play every game but he had two games for Ireland, Harper wasnâ€™t playing for England so he had a rest.â€
Harperâ€™s start against Wigan was his 50th in the league for Newcastle spread over a long 14 years. Had Harper been a regular first team goalkeeper in the Premiership during that time we feel certain he would have played for England by now, he’s that good. But Steve has always been happy to remain at Newcastle even though he has had few first team games. Steve of course is an excellent team player and is well liked in the squad.
â€œSteve may have come close to England if heâ€™d played regular first-team football,â€
â€œSome people may say he should have moved on but you canâ€™t argue with his patience. He obviously loves this club and has enjoyed his time here.â€
Harper and Given are still close friends but Allardyce has told his squad that when they get their chance he wants them to make if difficult for him to drop them. That’s just exactly what Steve has done so Sam in one way is doing nothing more than keeping his word. But it does look like since Big Sam came in he has liked what he has seen in Harper, who has played first class in goal,
Sam went on:
â€œIf we build a happy camp and weâ€™re all in it together and share our glories and disappointments, we can go a long way,â€
Sam’s right there and we hope that Shay gives a professional reaction to what is happening, even though we know he’s not going to be too happy about the situation. Let’s remember the team is important and our results have to take pride of place rather than any one player.
If we do that, success for Newcastle cannot be too fay away.