With Emil Krafth out of action for six to nine months, Newcastle potentially face an issue at right-back should Kieran Trippier pick up an injury. The club tried to add West Ham’s Harrison Ashby on deadline day but the Hammers wanted to part with their academy product.
The 20-year-old is in the final year of his contract, and sans a new one, West Ham may be more open to selling the right-back in January. He’s certainly one to watch over the next few months to see if he extends his contract.
While Eddie Howe has a dearth of options on the right with just Trippier and Javier Manquillo in tow, the opposite flank paints a far different picture. In fact, Howe seems to rate Dan Burn so highly that he’s found ways to keep the Geordie on the pitch despite the emergence of Sven Botman.
When Matt Targett suffered a minor hamstring injury after the season’s opening weekend, it was Burn to come in at left-back. The 30-year-old kept remained on the left for the next three matches, even after Targett returned for the Wolves draw.
Targett returned to the starting eleven, in the league, at Liverpool which Burn started at center-back with Jamaal Lascelles. The backline was superb against the Reds leaving everything they had out on the pitch.
Howe went back to what is likely his preferred backline this past weekend. Tripper, Fabian Schar, Botman, and Targett all got the nod and played very well. Though Burn came on late for Targett to keep his league appearance streak intact at 22.
Jamal Lewis was on the bench while Paul Dummett was again a no-show. It seems that Howe is determined to keep Burn involved even though Botman may now be ahead of him in the pecking order.
One thing is clear, this defense has been turned from a nightmarish vulnerability into a strength. Newcastle have excellent defenders in tow, who will at varying times be called on to play their part.