Chris Hughton has made it clear today that the team is a lot more important than any one individual player.
Chris Hughton – promises to select players on merit
And Chris says he will have no hesitation in dropping some of his top Newcastle players to make way for the club’s new boys.
With Sol Campbell, Cheick Tiote and Ben Arfa all fit and ready to make their debuts, there will be pressure on Chris to at least give these players run-outs very soon.
Hughton has some selection decisions to make before tomorrow’s game with Blackpool, but we fully expect him to field the same team that did so well at Wolves to get the point in our last game – although it will be a star studded bench – that will reflect just how strong the Newcastle squad has become thus summer.
Chris is a quiet man and soft-spoken, but you have to add courage to that list of attributes, because he’s shown before that he will drop any player if his form is not good enough, and of course last year, when he was caretaker manager, he dropped Michael Owen because of poor form in training.
Chris talked this morning:
“There is no real need to change the team at the moment. We are on the back of what I thought was a good result at Wolves which could have been even better,” “But what we have is three new players who will come into the squad and of course, give me things to think about.”
“At the moment there are no special reasons to change the team but I would not be worried about dropping any of our established players just because they are big personalities.” “The important thing is you get the right balance – you pick a team to win a football match.”
“More important than any of that is come the last game of the season, that we are still in the Premier League and that we have had a good enough season.” “How good that season will be will be determined by a lot of things but staying in the Premier League is more important than any individuals.”
“When I was caretaker manager I left out Michael Owen so I think I have proved I am not afraid of leaving out big names.” “You pick a team for any given game and leaving out players is something that comes with the territory.”
Chris is a courageous guy, and he has created a tremendous team spirit at Newcastle, where the team and the results are all important, and as long as players realize that, there should be no problems.
He also seems to have a good way of handling his players and there were reports early last season during that rather rough pre-season, that Joey Barton had stormed away after not being selected for a game.
But Joey eventually apologized to Chris for that, and Chris apparently handled the confrontation with supreme calmness in front of his players, and indeed Joey seems to have become a good team player since then – and also seems to admire Chris greatly as his manager.
But every player worth his salt wants to play, so there will be disappointments of course, but Chris has significant skill in using his squad very effectively, as he showed us all last season.
The good thing is that the Newcastle squad now seems so much stronger than it did on July 1st.