Kevin Keegan Explains the Smith, Duff Benching

Before the Birmingham game Kevin Keegan decided to change the formation of the Newcastle side, and decided to go with a 4-3-3 formation so he could use all 3 strikers, Martins, Owen and Viduka in the side.


Damien Duff – not even making the subs bench these days

That meant that both Damien Duff and Alan Smith were left out of the team, and in Duff’s case he didn’t even make the subs bench in the last two games.

Kevin Keegan talked yesterday to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about the changes he had to make, for the good of the team.

“When I went to see Damien before the Birmingham game, I explained my reasons why I had to make changes.”

“I said, ‘You’re the unlucky one along with Alan Smith this time’, but if I’d gone to Nicky Butt’s room, or Joey Barton’s room, James Milner’s room or any of the players’ rooms, I could have chosen any of them and said the same thing and they all would have accepted it.”

“I had to make that decision as manager and they’ve taken it well, and their response – both of them – has been to train even harder, if that’s possible, because the two of them do like training.”

“They have been fantastic on the bench or on the sidelines. They’ve not let their heads go down. They’ve said, ‘Right, I’m going to get back in’. That’s what you want – those characters.”

It’s good to hear that both Alan and Damien have accepted the changes but both players want to play every game and they cannot be too happy. This puts a question mark over both players’ futures at the club, although we think Kevin will want to keep both of them in the summer.

It’s going to be very interesting once we are safe from relegation, just which players are moved on in the summer. That will give us some idea as to what Kevin is thinking about the formation of next season’s team.

The 4-5 new players we expect to be brought in during the summer should be very good, and without being overly optimistic, we are pretty sure next year should be a good season for us.

Now where have you heard that one before.  😀

Comments welcome.

16 comments so far

  • Paul R

    Mar 30, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #1

    Thats good to hear that the troops are falling into place ! Still would like to see Duff on the bench like !

  • steve

    Mar 30, 2008 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #2

    I think I’d prefer it if Smith threw his toys out the pram and demanded a transfer.

  • Leo

    Mar 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #3

    steve i wish that also, would mean more funds for midfield and we dont need him so it wont affect out club at all

  • Bobby Ollox

    Mar 30, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #4

    Summer Predictions
    Smith to Sunlun
    Viduka invalided out of the game after unfortunate accident with pie making machine.
    Butt to Wigan
    Zog to Arse – Duff recaptures firts team spot.
    Owen to Spurs in exchange for Keane.
    Joey Barton changes name to Rob Lee, and becomes Keegans influential midfield general.
    Rest of the duffers taken on by Big Sam Lardarse including back room staff, mysteriously disappear after visit to Viduka’s Pie Factory. Good.

    One can dream.

  • Nick Dryden

    Mar 30, 2008 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #5

    No need to explan. Neither have played a decent game for their obscene wages since they’ve been here. End of.

  • stk

    Mar 30, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #6

    is milner still injured? how long?
    the zog, duff and smith have suffered coz of this need to play 3 attackers, which is good for the obvious goal threat, but very bad for the sole reason that geremi plays. when i read that keegan praised his set peice taking, made me wonder, is his watching the same guy? plays like a 30 year old with the legs of a 40 year old.
    zog and milner will have to try harder to get back into this team, but the combo of geremi/butt/barton may be working but will need drastic improvement if we are to progress

  • stk

    Mar 30, 2008 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #7

    id agree with the above about neithert justifying their wages, their commitment, work rate, loyalty, drive, determination, all that may be there, but when theres no skill, none of that even matters, especially when your positional sense is so poor, in smith’s case anyway

  • clinta

    Mar 30, 2008 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #8

    4-5 very good, ie world class players, you are being overly optimistic, won’t happen won’t get the money for that many and wuoldn’t be able to attract them anyways,

    i feel well mostly be getting squad members in who will add some depth and back up for the starting teams which i think we mostly already have.

    but i guess well see come window?

  • King Kev-4-3-3

    Mar 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #9

    bobby ollox- why would we want keane instead of owen? why not keane, owen, oba??

  • Bobby Ollox

    Mar 30, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #10

    For a start, I dont think that we will have a choice, if a high profile player like Owen wants off, he will go.

    But I dont think that Owen is Keegans sort of player – and I think that given the choice, Owen would want to write off the whole of the last 3 years and start again, in the capital, in a team that is young exciting and vibrant.

    and I thnk that Keane would be a better player for us, than Owen or Viduka – alongside Oba..

    all in all its the sort of business that would suit us all. Do you remember when Keegan sold Cole…..same sort of thing.

  • faustino

    Mar 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #11

    You’d rather have Robbie Keane that Michael Owen. My god have a word.

    Give Owen the serivce Keane gets and then you see why that’s just laughable. Keane’s easily the worst finisher of the ball i’ve seen since Bellamy. In fact their bascially the same – all tenacity no skill.

  • Luke

    Mar 30, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #12

    robbie keane no skill!?

    ahem… he’s technically incredible. Ask Marcello Lippi

  • Viper

    Mar 30, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #13

    tooks words from my mouth.
    I don’t like the man (robbie), but he HAS got skill and can finish a damn site better than the mouthy welsh chap.

  • Reb

    Mar 30, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #14

    From a long-time Owen fan — I’d be surprised to see him head to London. He’s never wanted to play in London, reading between the lines of his old articles and his book. I think he likes the North. A much more likely move would be back to his native Northwest, which would allow him to live at his home in Flintshire, near his and his wife’s family.

    I’d be more worried about Owen leaving Newcastle if the offer came in from Everton or ManCity than Tottenham.

  • UTD111

    Mar 31, 2008 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #15

    Keegan is very happy to have both Smith and Duff in the squad – so why the moaners in here? Your judgement is better than Sir Kevin’s?? How arrogant!! Anyone who says Smith has never played a good game since he came here wasn’t at the Everton game to name just one…………

  • Whumpie

    Mar 31, 2008 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #16

    I wondered where the moaners had gone. There you are, fellas.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the players who pulled off yesterday’s majestic win were the same ones that the whiners on here have been slagging off for the past 6 months.

    You all need to learn that a world-class player doesn’t suddenly become useless, and that sacking and hiring are a fool’s answer to everything. It takes skill, talent and time to get people like this working, and that’s what KK’s got.

    Some idiot on another thread is still calling for Martins to be sold, despite, as the Telegraph review pointed out when awarding him man of the match, the fact that he:

    • Scored the fourth and his mazy run helped set up the third
    • Completed 87.5 per cent of passes
    • Had five attempts on goal

    Sack the whingers. We have a great team, and I have no doubt that KK will get fantastic performances out of just about all of them given time. Even Smudger.


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