We could see a fit Ryan Taylor return to the team at left-back today.
Ryan Taylor – after scoring that wonder goal at Sunderland in August
Ryan could also come in directly for the injured Danny Guthrie on the right of midfield, or we suspect he could replace Argentine Jonas Gutierrez at left back.
That would mean Jonas going to the left side of midfield, with Tiote in the middle and Frenchman Yohan Cabaye out on the right.
That’s assuming Newcastle will keep playing their 4-3-3 formation, but they could easily switch to 4-4-2 with Ben Arfa on the right wing and Cabaye and Tiote the two central midfielders and Jonas on the left wing.
Ryan has had a great season, and in the main had avoided injury, unlike last term, and he has played 28 times with 3 goals and that compares to only 8 appearances and 2 goals last season.
Two years ago we though Ryan would be leaving Newcastle to get more games elsewhere, as he’s not one of those players – like Michael Owen as one very good example – who’s willing to sit on the bench and collect his pay check without ever playing.
Ryan has done so well this season, and was rightly awarded with a two year extension to his contract earlier this year, and he now has another three years on Tyneside.
Ryan had this to say today, about what you have to do as a footballer:
“Sometimes, in this business, you’ve got to take things on the chin.” “It’s how you react, and I’d like to think I reacted well in the past by not throwing my toys out of the pram.”
“Or even going and knocking the manager’s door down.” “I just got on with it and knuckled down.” “I knew we were going to lose a few players, but I never thought I’d play 19 games at left back.
“That wasn’t on the agenda!” “Obviously, I would have liked to have played in a more natural position, and it took a while to settle in.”
“The season’s gone from strength to strength.” “To be rewarded with a new contract just shows I’ve come on in leaps and bounds this season.” “I’ve got to thank the manager for giving me my chance and having faith.”
“It’s all down to sheer graft and hard work.”
It says a lot about Alan Pardew’s man-management skills, that Ryan had had his best season ever at Newcastle, and maybe the best season in his career – so far.
We’ve always known Ryan was a first rate professional, and his attitude is simply top-class, and he’s a great role model for the younger players in the Newcastle squad, and he’s not too bad a player either.
We expect to see Ryan starting today – either in midfield on the right, or at left back – and that shows you just how adaptable this top utility player is.