Newcastle’s Premier League stay has been nice. The roar of St James’ Park will be missed, the hilarious protests at Mike Ashley will be missed and the occasional world-class performances will be missed.
The Newcastle players have taken a lot of flak this season and some of it hasn’t been entirely deserved. A club of Newcastle’s size demands a huge amount from each of their players, and when they don’t live up to it, it can become a pretty horrible place to play your football. It’s a bit hero or villain when it comes to the Newcastle players and a lot of their current squad are more in the villain category.
The Geordie fan base haven’t been happy with the owner for years, but Steve McClaren’s dire spell in charge of the club was as concerning as anything for the die-hard Magpies.
Whatever the fans might want to tell you (or the media), this squad isn’t a team of incompetent fools. There are some talented players in there and many will still have a chance in the Premier League, despite last night’s relegation…
One of the most enigmatic players in Europe, managing Moussa Sissoko is a challenge in itself.
The Frenchman has produced some typically impressive performances this season, but he has all too often looked disinterested and lazy. Many managers will be wary of a player with such extremes of form, and rightly so, but Sissoko could be a real force for many Premier League teams.
The Magpies’ top goalscorer has largely failed to live up to the pre-season billing. His four goal bonanza against Norwich gave a Newcastle fans a lot to hope, but he, like Sissoko, has been disappointing.
Played both out wide and in a ‘No.10’ role, Wijnaldum’s choice to move to Newcastle was surprising and, although his reputation has been damaged, he is easily good enough to play for a top half Premier League side.
Newcastle haven’t really settled on an individual striker for much of this season and have flirted with the idea of 4-4-2.
The turmoil hasn’t helped the development of Ayoze, but he, along with Aleksandar Mitrovic, still boasts the potential to be a truly special player. Often providing the attacking spark for his side, the Spaniard needs to be given a role in a team. The biggest clubs are surely going to continue their interest in Newcastle’s diamond in the rough.
Despite Newcastle’s shambles of a defence, Chancel Mbemba has been impressive throughout.
Mbemba hasn’t had the same impact in securing the defence that many would have hoped for, but his combination of pace and speed have allowed him to build a partnership with Jamaal Lascelles of late.
The no-nonsense centre-half has made more clearances and interceptions per 90 than any other Newcastle player, too.
Since joining Newcastle’s sinking ship in January, only fellow January signing – Andros Townsend – and Moussa Sissoko have made more key passes per game than Shelvey.
His temper may occasionally better than him, but Shelvey knows as well as anyone that he is too good for the Championship and plenty of clubs will surely be desperate to snap him up this summer.