Newcastle Side Not Set In Stone – McClaren

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 +Manchester+United+v+Newcastle+8k6Kmehk8CBl

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?

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Northampton?

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Comments welcome.

77 comments so far

  • Whumpie

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #1

    I wish I was up there for this game – and not just because it’s cheap 

    I just want two things from this:

    1. A win
    2. A reason to believe we have strength in depth.

    We have a lot of 2nd-choice players pushing hard for 1st choice spots and I just hope they give Maclaren a real selection headache for league games by showing their class tonight.

    Should be a great game – no excuse for not going if you’re local!

  • SUTTY1978

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #2

    So he’ll be fielding a second string 11 then? Changed somewhat from “playing our strongest side”. If he back pedals any further he’ll be in the north sea

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #3

    From previous, you’ve hit the nail on the head, the rigid policy which means “computer says no” that has had us buy Carrs third to sixth choice more often than not the policy hasn’t been as successful as they would have liked.

  • Fostino

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #4

    Mcclaren starting 11 for saints and swansea vs reserve starting 11

    Krul..janmaat…mbemba ..colo…haidira. ..sissoko…Anita. ..colback…wini….Obertan. ..cisse
    Darlow. ..bigi…Taylor. ..lascalles…dummett….thauvin…tiote…Siem…perez…Aarons. …Mitro

    I think I’d pick the reserve team to win. This truly shows that Willo. ..elliot. ..vuckic…goofy…marvo…Fergusion are surplus to requirements. Also shows back up to rb is poor as I woukd also say bigi is surplus and haidira nor Pl standerd.

    Riverie I haven’t mentioned…he’s not surplus yet but def replaceable for something better

  • Jib

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #5

    I will be in the air when the game is on flying to sunnier climes.
    It could be worse I could have said Middlesbrough

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #6

    Ferguson is already out on loan.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #7

    The trouble with the clamour to sell Willo is that when Taylor inevitability breaks down we are left a man short. I would have a constantly fit Taylor over Willo all day but the reality is that he plays about 14 games a season. Curtis Good needs to go out on loan with Lascelles to a top Championship side with a good shout for promotion, if he’s not good enough to get that opportunity then he shouldn’t be playing in the PL for us.

  • Jib

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #8

    Riviere has scored twice as many goals in the Cap1 cup as in the league.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #9

    I don’t know how Bigi has regressed so much, he looked the part when we bought him.

  • hibbit

    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #10

    jail my mate has always called him 10 game taylor never seems to get past a 10 game run

  • chuck

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #11

    Here we go again, with McClaren becoming Pardew “mark 2” starting out with the same old excuses, we have to make sure everyone is ready to step up, is that not why sides have training sessions?

    Then the other excuses, our knackered side needs to be rested for the big game comming up, face it no one from the coaches through Ashley is interested in this crap cup and are preparing the fans for our exit, nothing has changed apart from the fact the club (Ashley) came within a hair of being relegated on two occasions lately and had had to upgrade the side to ensure PL membership with it’s big money rewards.

    Same club, same owner, same goals, mid table mediocrity, same bull***t, so what did you expect ?

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #12
  • lesh

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #13


    It’s not just Bigi who seem to have regressed having shown much promise.

    Could it be that the development squad coaching’s not up to the standard required to bring out the best in these kids?

    I wonder whether McClaren’s undertaken a full review of the coaching regime covering the very youngest through to and including the development squad?

    It surely must be on his to-do list if there’s a desire to develop a youth system along the lines of the very successful Southampton model which has produced so much talent over the years.

    No quick fix but….

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #14


    Did you read a different article from everyone else??

  • Jib

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #15

    I’d start with picking Janmaat make him captain and give him the opportunity to redeem himself.
    Dummett Williamson Lascelles De Jong Thauvin Aarons Sissoko Darlow Tiote Riviere Gouffran all NEED game time a mixture of those above with some regular 1st teamers should do it.

  • SUTTY1978

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #16

    Jail, Good and Lascelles are not good enough for a top Championship side. Lascelles struggled to get into a mid table one last year, Good struggled to get into Bradfords side when he was on loan there, mainly just used for cup games filling in at left back. Said last night that most of our younsters are crap and less than a handful will make it at championship level or above. In no way should these type of players get a sniff of a first team game for NUFC.

  • jayphoto

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #17

    nice to see we have a squad that can drop 4 or 5 players and still be strong tonight!
    I’d line up 4-4-2. Northampton play long and direct, tend to miss out the middle anyway…
    id go with Darlow in goal. A defence of ..
    Janmaat (needs match fitness, looked off the pace)
    Taylor (Could do with sharpness)
    Lascelles (good time to make his debut)
    Haidara (Theres no one else.)
    in Midfield id go
    Thauvin – adapting to england
    Tiote – needs fitness
    De Jong – needs fitness
    Aarons – Needs to be kept in the 1st team loop

    up top I’d honestly go with Mitrovic because he needs to get that first goal, good chance tonight and cisse. See how they do together. I’ve a feeling they might compliment each other.

    I’d have young Toney on the bench to get a few minutes. He’ll be desperate to play in this game and a taste of first team will motivate him to work hard for more.

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #18

    From what i can tell so far…. we are going to be starting with Mitrovic, Thauvin, Aarons and perez. Thats a strong attacking line up. Hardly on par with the teams we put out on recent years. Ok, Willo might start, but he has prem experience and surely even HE can handle the Northamptons attack?

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #19


    From what SM said above, sissoko isn’t ready for tonight, and I wouldn’t play goufran for the under 12s! But agree with the rest. Even Riviere

  • SUTTY1978

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #20

    Lesh, the difference between Southampton’s set up and ours is the raw talent. I thought since we were now Cat 1 that we would be hoovering up all the talent from the Cat 2 clubs at bargain prices, don’t seem to have done that at all. Liveool do that all the time and pass it off as great development of their own players, look at stirling.

  • Transfer Sage

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #21

    I don’t mind player rotation. I think it’s good to keep everyone sharp and on their game.

    The problem previously under pardew was that the same 11 (baring injuries) played every week in the prem and we rotated too many in the cups.

    At least McClaren has shown he is making changes and swapping a few in the league as well. It keeps everyone fresh and sharp and will hopefully prevent a few injuries.

    Also by only changing a few you get a better bid between the players as wholesale changes don’t give players a chance to gel.

    It all depends on the 11 starting tonight but i think there are plenty of strong players to come into the side.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #22

    YCMIU – I agree. As slow as willo is he will cope with long balls into the box. Stick Mbemba/lascelles alongside him and stereo at right back. Haidara at left back still.

  • martoon

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #23

    Transfer Sage @21 – I agree – we’ve said many times that our bench is pretty strong these days so why not give them some game time? We’ll not be playing kids we’ll be playing players on the fringe of the first team – big difference to Pardew (and Carver). Quite honestly these players should be good enough to beat Northampton!

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #24

    The comment from their manager of they aren’t coming to Newcastle to tickle any tummies makes me think we should have men not boys in defence at least. I would give fringe players a chance but play a very strong attack.


    Sterry mbemba/lascelles willo Haidara

    Anita tiote

    Aarons sdj Thauvin


    Kill the game off then bring on obertan to keep stretching them, perez to have a run up front or cisse or switch to 442 and bring on toney.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #25

    Also giving mitrovic and thauvin a chance to get on the scores heel is very wise…momentum is everything.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #26

    Sheet not heel

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #27


    Yeah exactly. It’s not as if they are bairns. A couple of our fringe players were 1st team constants under Pardew, so they should easily cope with lower league teams.

  • jayphoto

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #28

    Fact is, from our fringe/squad players , even as far down the squad as Bigirimana, Kemen or Toney would walk into Northamptons team and probably be the best player. The fact we are at home helps too.
    I think McClaren can realistically make up to 8 changes tonight but he needs to keep some experience in there to guide the result home.
    I’d play Janmaat, Taylor, Tiote, De Jong. That’s 4 experienced pros.
    Whether Lascelles is good enough or not for PL, he’s definitely a step up to league 2 and hes a demon in the air. I’d play him.
    Darlow has been good enough to notch 100 games for Forest, No real concerns about him or 3rd choice Elliot.
    Perez looked lively. Would keep him in the first team as he possibly will drop to the bench at the weekend.
    After this I’d possibly play Aarons because I’m desperate to see what he can do.
    Thauvin and Mitrovic are still adapting and this game might help. Mitrovic needs to get a goal as all strikers do to get off the mark. Thauvin missed preseason with us so could do with the game to help raise cohesion with teammates.
    Anita, Gini and Colo ran themselves into the ground on Saturday! Probably will against arsenal too, id rest them

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #29


    Yes, EVERY prem team in this round puts out a mix of first team experience and promising kids. It’s nice for us to actually be in a position to do that, and SM should be the right man to get that mix right.

  • SUTTY1978

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #30

    Jay, Toney wasn’t Northampton’s best player when he was there, so not sure why after four weeks of working with the much maligned Beardsley he suddenly would be!
    Most of our previous cup failures have been as much about attitude as the team we have put out. On paper we should pretty much always have won our early cup games but that hasn’t been the case. I’d be putting out as strong a team as possible and looking to annihilate them from the off. McClaren keeps saying the new players we have signed are winners, time for them to step up.

  • jayphoto

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #31

    See Cabaye has said no big clubs offered for him. Sounds like he didn’t enjoy his time at PSG.
    Looking forward in years to come to see what actually happened when he was rumoured to go on strike.
    Heard a few times that Newcastle players of the last few seasons have clauses in their contracts forbidding them to talk negatively about the club when they leave, personally wouldn’t believe anything Llambias or Kinnear say.
    The fact that Pardew was manager when Cabaye supposedly went on strike yet still rushed to sign him at the first opportunity to me suggests Yohan might not have played things how Kinnear let us believe…

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #32

    Analysis for the game:
    Mcca is right we have a depth is squad. Fans shld not boo Williamson he is a NUFC player and he representing our club.
    it is how good they can b not filling positions shld come b atleast as goos as the player who is rested or can try to produce something similar.

    Let me hop the club has trained penalties. I wld keep Krul on the bench for that. Make only 2 subs during the game.
    My Team for the game:
    Thauvin…………….de Jong…………..Aarons
    Krul, Dummett,Obertan, Perez, Torney, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic.

    I wld rest Taylor because of his injury history

  • jayphoto

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #33

    @Sutty – think you’ll find after xmas Toney was their first name on the team sheet and finished 2nd top scorer.
    He started the season making sub appearances but become fully fledged first 11 member by halfway through the season

  • calvinzolamakongo

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #34

    Think macca sayin in regards to squad r second team should be good enough to beat northhampton for eg darlow dumnett willo JL ?
    Tiote kemen
    Thauvin sdj aarons

    That team is still decent all prem players except kemen i would say

  • jayphoto

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #35

    @will die for the toon army – I know Krul seems to have a good reputation for saving penalties because of the world cup but truthfully his record at saving them in a Newcastle shirt is absolutely horrific!


    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #36

    i put a team out yesterday i thought should start but after thinkin about it and the fact its an early kick off sat against the arse i’ve tweeked it a little
    keeper= darlow
    defence=janmaat colo lascelle dummit(if fit)or haidara
    def/mid=tiote kemen/anita
    at/mid=perez de jong aarons
    subs mbemba haidara?taylor thauvin toney colback wini

  • SUTTY1978

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #37

    Fully fledged first team player is a bit different to being on a totally different playing level to them and being their best player though, Marc Richards was their player of the year. I think they will give us a tough game and can see them scoring first if we go out in our usual cup tie malaise.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #38


    Spot on.


    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #39

    ost of these players ive put in as they need playing time and should have more then enough about them to get the job done…..also kept mitro in to try and get him scoring coz he will be even more of a menace after scoring and perez deserves the start after sat

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #40

    All games are different and good performance in one game should not by design guarantee you a starting place in next game.

    What should happen at Newcastle is we will have 23 players all performing (some will slip at times and then we pick them up) and all getting there fair share of games, because we need them and because every game is different!

    Some will be in form and we should of course build on that momentum…and that means no one keeps their place regardless not even the captain!

    This is not what I usually see happening at Newcastle – will SM be the man to change that (he didn’t do it at Derby)


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