Newcastle right back Danny Simpson has done some of the interview duties on this Friday morning, when Newcastle find themselves 5th top of the Premier League.
Danny Simpson fights for the ball with Junior Hoilett
If somebody had told us last summer, that on 3rd February Newcastle would have been 5th top of the Premier League, we would have asked what they had been smoking.
But 5th top we are and with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all finding things a bit tough this season, Newcastle have a chance to hang in there and finish high up in the league table.
And with a successful transfer season closing – successful because we got Papiss Cisse in and lost none of our top players – the next step is for Newcastle to sign up some of the players whose contracts run out over the next eighteen months, and Danny Simpson is one of them.
This is what Simpson said today about some of our fringe players on Wednesday night, who don’t get regular games on Tyneside:
“I thought Gabby was excellent when he came on and Perchy was brilliant. That is what we’re all about,”
“We only found out at lunchtime that Yohan wasn’t going to play but it shows the character of the team that we battled through it and it shows the character of the individual that they played so well.”
“Gabby and James probably haven’t got the minutes that they’d like this season but they’ve kept their heads down, they’ve worked away on the training ground and when their chance comes they have taken it.”
“The squad believes in each other, we trust that if anyone goes down or gets injured the next man to come in will be able to do a really good job.”
“Gabby is new to the club so the goal was a major boost for him. It will take time for us to see the best of him but he’ll be a top player for us – and James was brilliant again.”
“He just gives 100% wherever he plays. He was at center-back on Saturday and then he gets asked to play in midfield on Wednesday but it doesn’t faze him – he was weighing in with tackles, shots and headers all over the place.”
We’ve never had any doubts that James Perch was a top professional, but he’s now showing he can play a bit, and some of us may have to change our opinions on James, and it’s really great for him and shows his strong character and good temperament.
James can become a top squad player for Newcastle long term, much like Danny Guthrie and Ryan Taylor, and as we have seen over the last few weeks, these lads are very important to Newcastle, when they can come in and play well when the starters are missing.
Danny played his 100th time for Newcastle on Wednesday night, and made yet another dramatic goal line clearance, which was his third of the season.
The 25 year-old is a good player, but still has room to improve, which he seems to be doing again this season, so we’ll be happy when we sign this lad up to a new contract on Tyneside.
But we expect 20 year-old James Tavernier in the summer to start pushing hard for the right back position at Newcastle, when he returns from his loan spell at MK Dons, which is his fourth loan spell in the last year.
And we still wouldn’t be surprised if Newcastle sign a left-footed left-back in the summer – like Erik Pieters of PSV Eindhoven for example – and Davide Santon could move over to right back, but we certainly expect increased competition for places next season.