As soon as Rafa arrived at Newcastle in March of last year, he realized that Newcastle had a lot of injuries – something that went back as far as when Sir Bobby Robson was managing the club starting in 1999.
But since Rafa took over, the chronic injury problems at Newcastle are no longer, and we are not even in the top 10 of the Physioroom Injury Table.
We used to be top every single year in the Premier League.
Rafa realized that the artificial pitches we had were the old 3G technology which didn’t have the give of the new 4G technology.
So in the summer of last year, he had those pitches upgraded and also had the inside of the Benton training complex repainted to have it be lighter and more cheerful inside.
There was also more room allocated where the players could relax and stay at the training ground between training sessions.
Rafa also hired a couple of coaches specifically to handle the injuries, and the problem seems to have been solved.
Another problem solved by Rafa
We are 12th in the Injury Table and currently have four injuries with two of them since last weekend when Matt Richie took a knock, and Christian Atsu has a calf injury, and both players have pulled out of their International squads for the upcoming Work Cup qualifying games.
We have our two specialists left backs – Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara – both out long term.
Paul Dummett has a hamstring injury, and Haidara has a knee injury with no return dates for either of the players.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa tries to bring in a left back in January and maybe he will go for Matt Targett on loan from Southampton.
We could have had Matt on loan for the season on the last day of the transfer window, but the hierarchy wouldn’t pay the loan fee.
By January we may even have a new owner if some of the news we keep hearing is true with talented and successful financier Amanda Staveley possibly wanting to buy the club.
If that happens by the end of the year, which we think will be very difficult, Rafa may have some real money to spend in the January transfer window.
And we should take the chance to bring in more players in January if we can, so everything is not left to be done in the summer transfer window.