Midfield Berth Between Ryan Taylor And Smudge Tomorrow

It seems that the central midfield berth alongside Nicky Butt at the Reebok tomorrow will be between Ryan Taylor, who played the second half there against Everton last Sunday, and Alan Smith, who is fit again following the Achilles injury he picked up last August.


Alan Smith – could start tomorrow in central midfield

And Chris Hughton told nufcTV yesterday:

“Alan Smith is one player who could come in but we do have a few options.”

“Ryan Taylor did very well in there after Kevin Nolan was sent off against Everton, and Geremi also comes into contention.”

In fact Ryan filled in so well in the second half with Nicky Butt, that Newcastle actually looked better in the second half against Everton, than they did in the first half. It’s a strange game this football.

And it showed that Ryan can not only play either full back and either wing position, but also quite well in central midfield.

With Duff and Jonas available for the wings, Chris may be tempted to start Ryan Taylor again alongside Nicky Butt, but we had thought it would be a decent bet that Smudge would start in midfield.

If Smith did win a start it would be an opportunity for him to show what he can do at the club, and would be his first start of the season, and only his second appearance this term.

Of course Alan has just come through six months of difficult rehabilitation, after suffering an Achilles problem during the summer, and he seemed livid when it seemed he was being set up by Dennis Wise to be shipped off to Middlesbrough last month.

To say he doesn’t want to leave Newcastle is an understatement, and tomorrow could be Alan’s big chance.

Coach Hughton continued:

“In Alan Smith we’ve got a wholehearted player who likes to work hard in games and training.”

“That’s probably the side a lot of people don’t see, the real frustration of being out for such a long time when you can’t affect anything. It’s quite monotonous.”

“You come in for training and treatment every day when, really, you want to be out on the training pitch and having an influence.”

So it’s probably between Ryan and Smudge for the starting position alongside Nicky Butt tomorrow, and we’d be very surprised if Geremi is used, since he seems so out of favor these days, following two terrible performances the last two times out.

What do you think?

Comments very welcome.

20 comments so far

  • Toronto_Toon

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #1

    Normally I’d say Smudge, but who knows what shape he’s in after 6 months off? Taylor is no CM. We’d be better off with Geremi.

    But no option is great. Even if he were fit, Alec Ferguson tried to convert Smudge to a CM and didn’t succeed. He’s quite good in some ways, but his positional sense is terrible.

  • NUFCDavid

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #2

    i can tell you now its taylor, just have a look at the training pictures on the website from last few days, starting line up are wearing yellow bibs, team is harper s.taylor coloccini bassong enrique jonas r.taylor butt duff ameobi martines

  • Toon Graeme

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #3

    Howay lad smudger – see if you can transfer some of that passion onto the pitch!!

  • Toon Graeme

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #4

    Agreed NUFC david – I saw that last night too.

    I think they will use ameobi for height – doesnt do mutch else like and Oba for speed.

    Makes sense

  • jimiley

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #5

    It has to be Smudger. He has a goal threat, great pace and has an eye for the killer pass. He also takes a good throw in and can be deadly at corners and free kicks. He is well rested and fresh. I can see him claiming his England place back reaaly soon. We are really blesed with Butt, Geremi and Smith in the centre of midfield. I cannnot understand how we can be relegation candiddates with those three in CM. And with MA willing to pay 5 or 10 mil a season to strenghthen the team, we are really going places.

  • Toon_Sydney

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #6

    bring in lua lua? and keep jonas in the team kick duff out and leave ma boi taylor on the right wing

  • Alex

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #7

    NUFCDavid hope you are right with the exeption of Ameobi . They should try smudge up front
    S Taylor –Colo–Bassong—Enrique
    Duff—–Butt–R Taylor—Jonas
    That team would get a win aginst Bolton .

  • Toonbyblood

    Feb 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #8

    Alan’s a good scrapper. I was happy when we bought him but I’ve never seen him bring anthing desicive to a game. I’d say the same about shola but he scores goals. Seems like Alan’s lost his edge the last few years. Would love to see him get it back. Might be a case of just scoring a couple goals….finally.


    Feb 28, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #9

    I think people should give smithy a chance- to be fair a canny bit of his first season was in central midfield and now he should be given his chance upfront i think we should start him tomorrow with martins-

    S Taylor
    R Taylor

    This team WILL beat Bolton

  • Shanghaitoon

    Feb 28, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #10

    Actually, I’d be tempted to put smith in in place of butt. Use Jonas and duff on the wings, Ryan and smith in the middle and rest Butt. I’d also put Carroll or Viduka in instead of Ameobi …

    The back 4 pick themselves these days which is good to see. Its a long time since we’ve had a good consistent and stable back line.

  • Shanghaitoon

    Feb 28, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #11

    Can always bring in LuasLua if Smithy keeps running round like a headless chicken

  • Brutooon

    Feb 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #12

    If we want to lose go for smith

    if we want to draw or win, go for other players apart from smith

    He just can’t do anything…no even run properly

  • Steve R

    Feb 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #13

    I agree with Shangaitoon, good call. Give Butt a well deserved rest cuz he was not that great against Everton and i am sure Smith can give away just as many free-kicks as he does 🙂 No seriously R. Taylor as the central defensive mid and Smith as an “attacking” mid cuz he does well in the air which could be a huge benefit to Oba Martins

  • Steve R

    Feb 28, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #14

    Would anyone agree that we should try JONAS in the centre of the midfield? Then he could have two fellow Spainish speaking team-mates to work with (Enrique & Colo).
    His crossing is way off par and his surging up the middle could release both strikers instead of just the left-sided striker. I would really love to see him in this position cuz he also draws in opp. players which could create width for Duff on the left and R.Taylor on the right.

    🙂 🙂

  • padthemag

    Feb 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #15


    It has to be Smudger. He has a goal threat, great pace and has an eye for the killer pass. He also takes a good throw in and can be deadly at corners and free kicks. hahahahaha,which alan smith have u been watchin thierry henry, no goals in 3 seasons he’s deadly!for me we gotta get him off the payroll we can get much better for 60k a week taylor to start alongside butt,now he is deadly from throw ins,corners and deadballs in gemeral

  • Ben_BKK

    Feb 28, 2009 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #16

    Somehow I think jimiley was joking lol… he also said that we shouldn’t be relegation candidates with Smith, Butt and Geremi in CM 😛

  • obamagic

    Feb 28, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #17

    jimiley…..i hope you were being sarcastic…hahahaha…smith, killer pass?? i think he can’t complete a simple 5 yd pass

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 28, 2009 at 9:00 PM

    Comment #18

    Steve R – Your judgement amazes me to say the least.

    Jons was rubbish in central midifield against Stoke and Butt if one of the lynchpins of our team. He was one of best players v Everton and held it together in the second half.

  • Steve R

    Mar 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #19

    Tom, Jonas did not have a great game vs. Everton, would say that Enrique and Bassong (man of match) had great games.

    Jonas just doesn’t cross well enough. Hughton didn’t really set the team up well vs. Everton. S. Taylor seemed to be playing the right-wing role and R. Taylor would have had a far greater impact there.

    I will take your criticism but i just believe a wing should be able to deliver deadly crosses, that is not Jonas’ strength, his strength is holding of tackles. I guess that strength could be used in any position, and should be used according to the oppositions weaknesses.
    I love Jonas and he is most definitely one of the most exciting players in our team. 🙂

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 1, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #20


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