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Vladimir Smicer The Example For Some Newcastle Players

Rafa Benitez has made is very clear that he wants as many of our injured players back fit again as soon as possible, because they can all have an impact for Newcastle in our final eight games of the season, as we struggle to retain our Premier League status.

Rafa cites the example of Vladimir Smicer, the Czech International midfielder who scored in the Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005, and at the time Smicer was only a fringe player for Liverpool.

Smicer started as a substitute but soon replaced the injured Harry Kewell in the first half and of course Liverpool were 3-0 down at the half.

vladimir smicer scores for liverpool

Vladimir Smicer – after scoring Liverpool’s second goal against AC Milan

Smicer scored the second goal for the Reds in that phenomenal second half come-back and also scored Liverpool’s final penalty just before Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty to win the game for Liverpool in one of the greatest comebacks in European history.

Smicer left Liverpool that summer and moved to Bordeaux.

Citing that example of a fringe player who became really important when it really mattered in a big game,  this is what Rafa Benitez has said today:

“We need to make sure we are a team because we have just eight games to play, and we have to make sure that everyone can give to this situation,”

“I was telling people in the final with Liverpool in 2005, ‘If you are not playing, maybe you can be important in the future, so carry on doing your job’.”

“And Smicer – he scored the second goal – he was a player who was not playing too many games, but he was scoring in the final.”

“So every single player here, they can give you something. Maybe in the last game they can score the winning goal or make a save, and maybe it will be the crucial save or the crucial goal.”

“If they can do that, I will be really pleased because we will be really strong.”

Rafa makes a very good point there about all the players essentially being very important during the run-in.

For the record here is Smicer’s goal for Liverpool in Istanbul.

Another good example of that last season was Jonas Gutierrez, who had become a player almost ostracized at the club with his cancer.

But he came back into the first team in the last few games of the season and he not only scored, but was the Man of the Match in that final game against West Ham.

Now Jonas is suing Newcastle for £2M as part of a disability discrimination lawsuit and it’s a bad business all around for those involved.

There is no verdict on the claim yet and fans will have their own opinions on it – but we think it’s just unfortunate it’s all turned out this way.

Comments welcome.

6 comments so far

  • G

    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #1

    Is this story round purely to give hope to SDJ and Vern?

  • Jib

    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #2

    That is exactly what the message is but not just for those two.
    We must have twice the number of fringe players than any other PL side

  • firebug666

    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #3

    I think that both SDJ just needs fitness and game time, He is an intelligent player and most likely knows more about football than our previous managers of late.

    I think he will fit in well with how Rafa sets us up.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #4

    That’s quite true Jib. I’d go so far as to say most of our squad are “fringe players”. I made this comment earlier in the season that you could pick your best 11, second 11 etc. from the EPL and who would be the first Newcastle player named? I suggested Gini in the fourth 11, but he’s slipped well below that now. I’m too lazy to actually do it, but we may not have anyone in the first ten “best 11’s” from the EPL on form this season.

  • G

    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #5

    Fbug, if we can keep him fit, he is a game changer. I think he has been really unlucky, rather than injury prone. If Rafa plays him, he could alter our fortunes for next season dramatically. I have a feeling accomodating him in the team is the mainstay of Rafa’s plan, it would explain why Shelvey has been pushed into a more defensive role.

  • Jib

    Mar 28, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #6

    The overrated Frenchman
    While I don’t normally participate in the Carr bashing that goes on. I must say that it seems ages since the club have bought a player with that certain oomph that kicks the club onwards and upwards.
    It’s too easy to say a player has been pardewed
    The lack of a club changing player goes back way before Ashley.
    I guess the last time it was tried was Fat Freddy with Owen , and that was such a flop it has affected the club psyche.
    We’ve had a few false starts with Cabaye for example but never quite got THAT player.

    Hopefully that will all change with the Rafalution


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