McClaren Can Bring Out The Best In Some Fringe Players


In the last few games of the season we thought Vurnon Anita played very well for Newcastle, and in that last game he was almost Newcastle’s best player, although that fantastic performance by Jonas Gutierrez in his final game for the club won him our Man of the Match award.

Good players play well when it matters,  so it will be interesting to see how Vurnon plays under new head coach Steve McClaren.

vurnon anita challenges former captin kevin nolan

Vurnon Anita – had excellent game against West Ham

Vurnon is an excellent professional,  but has been on the fringes of the side since he was signed from Ajax for €8.5M,  which was around £6.7M back in the summer of 2012.

McClaren knows how to handle Dutch players from his two stints at FC Twente,  and apparently thinks highly of Vurnon, because he knew of him when he was at Ajax, where he even played left back for one full season.

The lads are all safely back from the US tour now,  and Vurnon has been interviewed in the Chronicle today and had this to say:

“We have to start the new season the way we ended last year with the win over West Ham. We have to start again in the same way.”

“From the beginning we have to start just like that. We saw that day that we had everybody behind us, which is going to make a big difference.”

“That last game was important for myself and the team because we wanted to stay up. We gave everything. We want it like that in every game.”

With the experienced players like Vurnon, Jack Colback, Gini Wijnaldum, Siem de Jong, Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote in the squad we seem well off for central midfielders.

But we will probably sell one of either Sissoko and Tiote, and if we do we would need to bring in another top central midfielder to replace whoever goes.

Maybe 25 year-old Dutch International Leroy Fer of QPR would be a candidate if that happens?

Steve McClaren and his coaching team are top-notch, and we look forward to some of our fringe players – like Vurnon Anita as one good example – coming through for the team next season.

Vurnon has played 95 times for Newcastle with a couple of goals over the last three seasons.

Comments welcome.


87 comments so far

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #1

    Dani Koks, former Ajax youth midfielder, who is on trail with the TOON for a one week, but some 17 days after it was first reported, the player is making headlines with the Newcastle U21s during their preseason tour in Holland

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  • Mister Tuff

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #2

    If Spurs are offering 18 million we should sell Sissoko. He is very inconsistent throughout a season. The money could be well invested in somenone better.

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  • Bobbybee

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #3

    If spurs make the first move, it could actually start a bidding war according to sources on newsnow, with Arsenal and even Chelsea being interested. If that occurs then the option for cash plus player goes into a much better place. The possibilities become eye watering. One of Chelsea’s youngsters – Ake for instance – plus cash to reinvest. We need to seriously assess the possibilities. The ball is entirely in our court as selling isn’t a real necessity, so we hold the upper hand. This could prove a really shrewd piece of business if we play it right.

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  • Toonfan8

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #4

    I would let Sissoko go, but we have to bring adequate replacement Shaqiri/Thauvin also Fer is better than Sissoko for me…and CB and we will have great window

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #5

    Charlie @ 1

    In the recent 4-3 victory over Vitesse Arnhem Koks (Trialist !) scored.

    Anybody know why Trialists can’t be named ?

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  • lowickmag12

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #6

    I like Anita good player,and McClaren will get the best out of him. As for Sissoko get rid of him asap. Not good enough imo

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  • overtheline

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #7

    Tottenham is not an upward move to a CL side.
    If we are to be top 6-8 then we may well be above Spuds
    Next

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #8

    I wonder whether Marveaux, when he gets fit, would get a new lease of life under McClaren as he has a lot of skill but lacked commitment under Pardew.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #9

    Spoken like an accountant to balance the books. Without Tiote featuring we could usefully employ Socks and his bludgeoning style
    which upsets the best of sides. We need to look at the bigger picture and a squad for a season of cup runs and a top ten finish.

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  • cyprus

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #10

    Spurs have traditionally fished our very best players and they invariably knw what they’re doing. I don’t doubt them this year either. I can see Sissoko (our best player last year) breezing past our players and scoring goals and becoming players player of the year.

    So, Mike (or whoever) please ignore some comments on this blog 🙂 and show your resolve! When I refer to future CL football, Sissoko is an intricate part of the plan. Don’t sell, even at 18 mil!!

    Thanks.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #11

    Pardew always suggested that Marve went missing when the going got
    tough. Really a lightweight and whilst we need to still replace Cabaye and his creativity it’s not with him.

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #12

    Anybody know how our squad now breaks down as per the Premiership limits ? I must be close to or over our limit as we haven’t sold anyone.

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #13

    * It must be*

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #14

    Socks is not Gazza but he’s much better than many suggest in my opinion.

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  • murvar

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #15

    It’s wrong to think of Anita as a “fringe” player. Football’s a squad game and Anita is very much part of the matchday 16 and has been throughout his time here. Satka is a fringe player; so are Good and Ferguson.

    I’d happily see Sissoko clear off. Disinterested and appears for about 10 minutes per game on average. Some games he simply disappears altogether.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #16

    I don’t see Anita being higher on the team sheet.

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  • richyg01

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #17

    Sell Sissoko, buy Austin. Simple.

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #18

    carl @ 10

    ‘…Really a lightweight …’

    Many people were saying the same about Anita not so long ago.

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #19

    murvar @ 14

    Totally agree about Anita.

    Many would argue that he is a more suitable player in midfield in the way that McClaren wants the team to play than either Colback, Tiote and definitely Abeid.

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  • swemag

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #20

    Anita did some changes to his game or at least from what I have seen he is a lot closer to the action and always seems to get in close to opposing players and intercept or at least disturb their build up play the last few games.

    If that is him playing when Pardew is not around then he is one of the first on the team sheet as he can also handle the ball and rarely misses a pass.

    But it is a bit early to say that after 3-4 games.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #21

    Anita still has it all to do for me. You need to judge a player over an extended run. He’s still to produce his Ajax form and movement. That was not helped by slow build up or by passing with long ball.

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  • swemag

    Jul 24, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #22

    Actually, Anita does what Tiote does without blowing up the opposing players and taking yellow cards.

    Cleaner. Better. Not losing the ball which is always dangerous for a defensive mid.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #23

    sell sissoko buy rudiger / abdennour

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  • croftus5678

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #24

    i struggle with anita has he never looks like he’s effecting anything ! he’s a tidy little player when it comes to 5 yard passes from one side to the other and he seems to have energy to run around a lot but to me it doesnt look like he puts a lot of tackles in !

    can people tell me what his job is ?
    he def does not contribute to the attack so i’m guessing he should be in the tiote dm role ?

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  • croftus5678

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #25

    @22 rotonda

    agree 18mil for sissoko is a good deal for a lad on the fringes of our first team now imo and is very inconsistant and not a winger !

    also seems he’s no dm like he was when we first bought him and its confused him to being a jack of all trades master of none.

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  • Munster Mag

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #26

    carl, I dont agree – I think Anita is a nice footballer and will get an awful lot of game time under Steve. Yes he lacks power, but he is quite quick, versatile, neat and tidy. Tiote is / was great fun for a while and he intimidates players a little, but he is a yellow card collector and a poor passer. Re Sissoko, if we can line up 1-2 good players then i would let him go, but only on that basis, and on the basis that all the money is used on replacemengts. The local media is saying there is no substance in the story. BTW if we get 18 mill for him i would be amazed. Part of the sale price is based on what the club paid for him. I am not sure we would even get 15. More like 12-14 IMO. Its funny now, how people are saying he is central midfielder, when may were saying we got it wrong by not playing him there. I dont think he was ever a central midfielder , at best on RHS of a 3. He’s a hard player to assess but I was never a big fan of his. Initially I thought we had a new Viera 🙁 . I reckon right wing for him or bust, given we have Wiji now aswell.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #27

    Tiote hasn’t done much of anything on the field for far too long.
    My point was that whilst silky finesse is welcomed we also need to match teams physicality / muscle in midfield. It’s a big season for a number of players. Good to see competition for places.

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  • Munster Mag

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #28

    Croftus – its hard to say what he is. I called him a fraud a couple of years ago on here. He is a poor tackler but a serious athlete. Not a great passer either and motivation varies a lot over the course of a season. I think best used as a sub against tired legs.

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  • carl

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #29

    Munster- I agree with the Anita qualities you mention. That has to translate into consistent performance.

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  • overtheline

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #30

    Anita is a really intelligent player who needs like minded people around him to really flourish. You can’t pass and move to a static colleague who is out of position anyway.
    He’s pretty good with the chipped ball forward too – so not just short passes.
    He doesn’t pick up yellow cards every other game either. I think he’ll feature a lot and he is def not a fringe player

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  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #31

    carl,
    Sissoko doesn’t offer muscle in midfield. He doesn’t challenge or track players. He is 6ft standing, 4ft jumping when the ball is in the air.

    He didn’t make a single tackle as captain in the centre of midfield in the derby at the Stadium of light last season – incredible feat.

    According to the statistics provided by squawka – I think they use opta – he attempted less tackles than Cabella won last season!!

    The only place he fits in at SJP now is on the right of the attacking trio, and I’d prefer to see Perez in there and/or bring in a genuine wide forward/winger for the role. Wijnaldum is equally comfortable driving the team forward and couples that with on ball ability.

    Anyway, it would appear that there isn’t any bid at all and it is more likely his agent desperately trying to drum up interest for a player that nobody wants.

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  • JP...from The Rock

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #32

    For that kind of money I would sell but for nothing less. He is a constant threat to the opposition with his sheer strength and pace. But he does not offer that much more and is rather limited. If we sell we need to replace him ASAP as like it or not but Sissoko is an important cog in the team. The only player we have similar to him is Wijnaldum and that was meant to be Cabaye’s replacement not his.

    So if we do sell I woul,want us to go for a skillfull player that can pick a pass, has pace and a great shot in him. Oh and one that can be a threat from set-pieces too as we seriously lack on that department.

    The problem though that is easier said than done. But Shaquiri would be a good shout but is rather small and good easily be rather lightweight in the EPL.

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  • croftus5678

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #33

    @for those comparing anita & tiote

    i’m no fan of either tbh as tiote imo gets too many cards and is liable to leave us with 10 men and anita has very little effect imo.

    http://www.whoscored.com/Players/63885 http://www.whoscored.com/Players/19396

    can side by side stats but it’s intresting how tiote has a lot more passes than anita does with the same % of success.

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  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #34

    Anita is a very intelligent player, and could be crucial to our play if we require the full backs to push on. I’ve watched his movement quite a lot, and he is very good at covering gaps left when our defenders push forward. Neat and tidy on the ball, and comfortable if we are to continue with centre halves dropping wide and a midfielder dropping in when the keeper has it.

    Colback can do the same role, but is nowhere near as intelligent. Tiote offers far more physicality, but doesn’t have the intelligence or the passing game. If we can bring in a physical and dominant centre half, then I think losing Tiote’s physicality is compensated for, and it allows better options on the ball.

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  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #35

    JP,
    Shaquiri is short, but I wouldn’t rule out his physicality. He is the same height as Alexis Sanchez, and has a similar frame and build. I think he would be a great signing. Clearly nowhere as good as Sanchez mind.

    If we got him for £12 while shifting Sissoko out for £18 we would be laughing!

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  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #36

    I think if we keep Colback, Tiote, Anita, Wijnaldum, De Jong as our main first team midfielders we have plenty to rotate, particularly with potentially Abeid, Kemen and Bigi all on the fringes of that.

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  • Slank

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #37

    Charlie @ 1

    An update about our Trialist (Dani Koks). He scored twice in our 2-1 win over FC Utrecht on Thursday.

    Is this another Dutch signing, could well be if he keeps on scoring ?

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  • ilovetoon8788

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #38

    Quite sick of sissoko. He has played so many games last season without care or passion. And always talking up on a move elsewhere.

    Good riddance and if 18m figure is correct, great piece of business. Provided we use the money to get a world class centre back to partner chancel..

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  • magscar

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #39

    Expat
    on previous thread – perhaps Walcott is the surprise player press have mentioned?? 🙂

    On Sissoko I think he has a few drawbacks not least a disinterested attitude when he is most needed.As someone else mentioned he did at first look like the new Viera but he has never progressed. Coaching may be at fault but attitude comes from within.

    Are Spurs or Liverpool likely to provide CL football he craves anytime soon? He won’t want to sit on the bench given his comments re Euro 2016 so would he want to go now?

    IMO best position with us seems to have been on right despite most of us seeing him as a box to box CM player initially. A lot depends on what other transfer targets we have as if does go then we need other(s) in but who fit in McClaren’s team strategies better. Lot of good calls on here about possible replacements (direct or otherwise) and for the first time in a long while it appears if we want to sell we can do from a position of strength and call the tune for a change

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  • LewSpi v2.0

    Jul 24, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #40

    Anita will be one of our most important players next year. Finally got players around him that are on his wavelength. One of the first names on SteveyMacs team sheet in my opinion.

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