Competition for places is what usually gets the best out of players, when they know that any slip in form could lose them their place in the side, and somebody else is only too willing to come in and play well for the side.
We haven’t had enough competition for places in the side over the last few years, and that can lead to some lackadaisical displays, and we’ve had far too many of those in the past.
Steve McClaren on Saturday at Old Trafford
But with four very good players coming in already in this summer transfer window for close to £
£50M, there is some serious competition for places building up – at last.
Steve McClaren has said the players who will play tonight against Northampton Town in the League Cup are playing for their places in the side.
This is what the head coach has said in the Chronicle today:
“Our side is not settled or set in stone.” “The competition has to be fierce.” “The most important people to me are the 11 to 23.”
“When they have got to play, they have to be ready to make an impact.” “Tonight is an opportunity.”
“When you have a cup competition and the Premier League to contend with, you wonder if you’ve got the squad to cope with both.”
“I would say we have the squad to cope with both.” “We have a strong squad with good players.”
“We have just played 11 v 11 out there in training and they are all much of a muchness.”
“They are all at the same levels with nothing to choose between them.” “Siem will play.” “It will be a strong team.”
“Moussa is progressing well and may be OK for the weekend.” “But we are taking that day by day.”
One of the big criticisms of Newcastle from the fans in the eight years we have had under owner Mike Ashley, is that we don’t try to win the cups and we always field weakened sides – often packed with youngsters.
That’s in the past now, and McClaren has been charged with trying to win a cup for Newcastle, and this season would be as good a time an any to do that.
So we cannot have any slip-ups tonight, and anybody who comes into the side and does really well could keep their place for the tough game against Arsenal on Saturday.
Bottom line – we need to win tonight.
That’s good news about Moussa Sissoko, and maybe he will be fit enough to start on Saturday?