McClaren Attends Training, Viduka Still Doubtful

England manager Steve McClaren visited the Newcastle United training complex today.

It’s quite easy for Steve to visit Newcastle since he still lives in the Middlesbrough area (after managing Middlesbrough) even though he finally took the England job last year.

The former Middlesbrough boss was quick to accept an invitation from pal Sam Allardyce and United first- team coach Steve Round, to attend the Newcastle training center today, where he could check up on Michael Owen, Alan Smith, James Milner and Steven Taylor.


Steve McClaren – England coach at the Newcastle training ground at Benton today

If Russia beat Israel on November 17, England’s last game in their Euro 2008 campaign against Croatia at Wembley four days later will be meaningless and we fully expect McClaren to be fired as England manager. But all is not yet lost although it’s now out of England’s hands after they woefully capitulated against Russia when they conceded two goals in 3 minutes.

We hope for the best but it’s only England’s fault if they don’t qualify – they simply were not good enough against Russia – and it will hard to take if we are not in the European Finals next summer.

For the Newcastle game on Saturday against Portsmouth, who we usually play well against, at least at home – we are hoping Mark Viduka will be fit again. The Australian international has taken over a month to recover from the slight calf injury he picked up in the defeat at Manchester City. You cannot say Mark isn’t injury prone, and we had hoped that Sam could alleviate some of Mark’s injury difficulties but so far – not so good, on that one. But it’s unfair on both Sam and Mark to expect immediate results on the injury front, but we’re sure Sam is thinking very hard how to get Mark fit for more games.

Full-backs Stephen Carr and Celestine Babayaro are now almost back from injury, two other players in the squad who seem always to be out injured. We’re not at all sure these two are now good enough for the Newcastle defense. We’d expect that Sam would offload them in January – if he can get buyers – but if not their contracts will run out in the summer – and we don’t expect them to be renewed.

Damien Duff is still about a month away from full match fitness – even though PhysioRoom.Com has indicated for many months Damien’s return date to full training was November 3rd.

The date has only recently been put back to November 24th – so Damien’s’ foot injury is taking longer to heal than first thought. We have 8 games in 33 days coming up starting December 1st, so we’ll need all these players fit, and ready to go by that time. December is going to be a very important month for Newcastle – that’s for sure.

Comments always welcome.

19 comments so far

  • squaretan

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:19 PM

    Comment #1

    I am sure Newcastle United will be pretty strong if they have their best eleven available. Viduka + Owen really can terrorize defenses. Carr and Babayaro will provide more speed and steel once they return from injuries. Duff is also another important player which Newcastle would want to have in the starting lineup! 🙂

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #2

    squaretan – do you think Carr and Babayaro are good enough for Newcastle? Do you think Sam will want to keep them at Newcastle past next June?
    I agree about Duff – think that Sam will be able to get the very best out of Damien – and we all know he’s a very good player – but not sure about the 2 full backs.

  • Jinal

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #3

    Do you reckon Sam will ever play Viduka and Smith upfront? I remember those glory days for Leeds!!

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #4

    Jinal – they played well together when Sam played them in pre-season – maybe if Owen gets injured – interesting combination and of course they have lots of experience playing together and scored quite a few goals together too – something like 45 goals in 73 appearances together – close to that anyway.

  • Marguerite

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:48 PM

    Comment #5

    Squaretan agree with your comments re Viduka / Owen ……….. BUT and it is a big BUT, you have to keep Viduka regularly on the pitch first! That in itself will be little short of miraculous.

    Cannot agree with the two fullbacks though.

    Rather than Smith up front with Owen it strikes me it may be better to have young Carroll back at SJP as he is wasting his time at PNE in their reserves as a sub.

  • Luke

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #6

    squaretan!? I don’t know where to begin…

  • Hammy

    Oct 30, 2007 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #7

    McClaren better make the most of these days out as he’ll be sweeping the roads once he mathematically fcuks up Englands qualifying campaign……….
    As for Babs and Carr, really couldn’t care less if they are fit or not…….
    both shite…

  • hadrian

    Oct 30, 2007 at 6:31 PM

    Comment #8

    lol , i spat my tea out reading that first comment .
    mcClaren is clutching at straws me thinks , strolling round the country as if he’s the one who will be calling the likes of milner up next year … for whatever friendlys we sort out.

  • squaretan

    Oct 30, 2007 at 6:32 PM

    Comment #9

    Carr and Babayaro are decent players. They are not as poor like TITUS BRAMBLE! 🙂 Lucky thing Newcastle got rid of him. Useless center back. Wigan got him now! As long as Viduka is healthy, Owen + Viduka should start.

    But if Viduka really dont get injured, then Martins will sure make his intentions clear about a transfer. I am pretty sure Martins dont like sitting on the bench too often.

  • toonfan1

    Oct 30, 2007 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #10

    ed- the title of the story has viduka spelt wrong. at the moment just says vuduka but brillant blog. keep up the good work. we are all enjoyin it here

  • Leo

    Oct 30, 2007 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #11

    carr looked alright in his games which lead up to his injury, maybe the increased competition will be good for him

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 30, 2007 at 7:57 PM

    Comment #12

    toonfan1 – whoops too much vudu – corrected it – thanks.

  • Sinead

    Oct 30, 2007 at 8:12 PM

    Comment #13

    Meh, if England don’t qualify who’ll we mock?? That’s no fun.

    Duff hopefully will be back soon, he’ll be important for Newcastle, he can be electric on his day and he’ll be wanting to fight off Hunt for the Irish jersey and Hunt rarely has a bad day. Duff will definatley have something to proove.

  • squaretan

    Oct 30, 2007 at 10:31 PM

    Comment #14

    Duff is important for Newcastle’s push to Europe. The best thing that i have seen Newcastle did for a while was to offload the rubbish Bramble! 🙂

  • geordie_jordan

    Oct 31, 2007 at 3:18 AM

    Comment #15

    squaretan, have you ever seen baba or carr play?????????

  • Brisbane Mag

    Oct 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

    Comment #16

    Don’t expect to see Carr and Babayaro in first team again and likely sold in January. Viduka and Duff’s return from injury very important to the team……

  • Toon Chicken

    Oct 31, 2007 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #17

    Who in their right mind would put in an offer for Carr or Babayaro?

  • Toon Chicken

    Oct 31, 2007 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #18

    Sorry, my mistake… forgot Gary Megson was back in the Premiership. 🙂

    Does anyone else think that Phil Gartside must have that Cher song playing over and over again in his head?…”If I could turn back time…”

  • Brisbane Mag

    Oct 31, 2007 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #19

    Toon Chicken – Good one; hopefully Sunderland or Boro…..


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