If we have strength in depth in the Newcastle team – it’s got to be in central defense.
Sol Campbell and Salomon Kalou on Sunday – Sol was fantastic
When both our two first choice center-backs were suspended for three games, Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor came in, and both put in excellent performances against Chelsea – they got the job done for Newcastle on Sunday – even if they were a little rusty at times.
And today Danny Simpson is singing the praises of the two players, who had their first league starts of the season:
“I thought they were both magnificent,” “Everybody knows what type of experience that Sol has.” “He has that presence, and he’s always there. He’s a big lad, and he talks to everybody, passing on his advice.”
“He was playing 20 years ago, so you know you have to listen to him. He’s been there and done it.” “He’s just so experienced, and he’ll help you make the right decisions.”
“It’s just an honor to be alongside him on the pitch and in training.” “You can only learn from him.” “On the pitch, he’s always communicating and making sure things are running smoothly.”
And Danny also had some good things to say about Steven Taylor, who’s had an exasperating year of injuries, but played on Sunday and reminded us what a good player he is.
And Simpson himself was out for 5 months with his ankle injury, so he knows just how hard it is for players to return from long term injury.
“Steven Taylor was fantastic,” “He got a bit of cramp, but he has been out a long time. “I know what he’s going through, but I thought me and him did OK on the right side of the defense.”
The one thing we really liked about Sol on Sunday, was that he was continuously talking to the other defenders, positioning them right and keeping the lads in very good communication. And of course he’s always so calm, which tends to translate to our other defenders.
Good communication generally leads to fewer mistakes, and there were certainly a lot fewer lapses in defense on Sunday, than in the previous disaster – whoops I meant game.
And the fact we have only two points in the last 4 games, has been largely due to poor defensive play against Blackburn and Bolton – and we would hope we can get a win at West Brom on Sunday afternoon – if we can defend very solidly right from the start.
And a little plug for Danny himself, because he had another solid game at right back, and it looks like he really is improving this season, so we hope he keeps his head down and continues that improvement.
And if the defense looks solid in the next two games, it will be more than interesting to see if Steven and Sol can keep their places when Mike Williamson and Fab Coloccini are available again.
There’s nothing like competition to bring out the best in our players.