Newcastle made a number of additions to their side in the January transfer window and three of them came in defensive positions.
There is no shying away from the fact that the Magpies have been one of the worst teams in the Premier League this season, when it comes to defending their own goal.
One of the signings they made to improve that record was central defender Dan Burn from Brighton. He has averaged an impressive SofaScore rating of 6.96 in the league, showing that he has the quality to be a top performer at this level. The question now will be over who Howe will partner him with?
The ex-Cherries boss must now unleash Paul Dummett alongside the English giant as a central defensive partnership in the top-flight.
Newcastle’s defensive record suggests that their centre-back pairings so far this term have been far from good enough, which is why it is worth testing out a new duo at the back. The 30-year-old recently returned from injury and has been solid in his two outings at left-back, winning 68% of his duels and making ten tackles and interceptions across the two matches.
Former Magpies centre-back Mike Williamson heaped praise on Dummett last year, saying:
“He’s so reliable and probably underrated in a lot of people’s eyes. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s good in the air and he’s got good distribution.
“His biggest strength is that he keeps everything simple and just how well he knows his own game.
“He has consistently improved since he came into the side and he deserves every reward and piece of credit he receives because he’s a genuine, authentic, humble North East lad.”
These comments suggest that he is the type of character Howe needs in a relegation scrap – solid and reliable. His performances at left-back also allude to this and that is why he must be given a chance at centre-back alongside Burn in the defence.
Last season, he largely played as a central defender and averaged a solid SofaScore rating of 6.76. He ended the campaign with a SofaScore rating of 7.0 or higher five times in his last eight appearances, showing that he was delivering top-quality displays in the heart of the defence.
Therefore, his presence alongside Burn could improve Newcastle’s defence and allow them to stop conceding goals at the rate they have been doing this term. The gem deserves a chance to show what he can do and Howe must unleash him alongside the January signing in their next Premier League outing.