Newcastle United player review 09/10 – Midfielders.

Posted on May 7th, 2010 | 88 Comments |

Has been a key player for us.
Has been a key player for us.
Having already taken a look at our goalkeepers and defenders, the focus for the next edition of our player review moves up the pitch again to see how our midfield have performed throughout the season.

It’s been a strange position for us this year. On one hand, some say the midfield has been our achilles heel, it lacks mobility and creativity. On the other hand though, it has been a position that has yielded a return of 30 goals from the season. Without checking, that is probably a damn sight more than what we have had in return from the past few seasons. Of course 17 of them have come from Kevin Nolan which has helped improve that figure, but despite the criticism that has been aimed at them from time to time they have chipped in with their fair share of assists aswell. After all, strikers need service from somewhere, right?

Jonas Gutierrez – Has been excellent this season, and his work rate is just immense which helps Jose Enrique out no end. Attracted criticism last year for lack of goals and the quality over his final delivery. If you study his final ball though, you’ll see it isn’t actually that bad. He is playing the ball into a decent area the majority of the time and into positions where you would expect a striker to be. I said ‘majority’, there have been some god awful deliveries aswell mind. He managed to score four goals this term which means we have got to see his Spiderman mask in action, much to the delight of the fans.

Kevin Nolan – Has had a habit of scoring vital goals throughout the season, 17 of them in 44 appearances in fact. Will probably end up as captain next year and has been one of the leaders this season whilst picking up the PFA Championship Player of the Year award in recognition of his efforts along the way. Questions are being asked about whether he can hack it in the Premier League, but with over 270 appearances and at only 27 years old I don’t have any real concerns about that. He should hit the gym a bit harder for next season though!

Joey Barton – The love child of one of our regular posters, Big Dave, has had his season massively interrupted by injury which has limited his input somewhat. Spent the first few games of the season played out of position on the left side of the pitch, which wasn’t idaeal for him. Has showed glimpes of the Joey Barton that played for Manchester City since his return from a foot injury with a couple of cracking defence splitting balls to setup goals and a good free kick goal against Peterborough. Will be like a new signing for next season if he can stay fit and trouble free.

Alan Smith – Tough tackling and no nonsense, two ways of describing Alan Smith. Was a key player in the first half of the season, breaking up play and leading the team. Still hasn’t notched his first goal for Newcastle in 32 appearances, and probably never will. I fell he will unfortunately just be a back-up player for next season.

Nicky Butt – Will be leaving in the summer, possibly to retire from football or coach somewhere. He has been a bit part player this season with only 17 appearances to his name this season, and he will be the first one to admit he isn’t the player he once was. A model professional in his six years with us, I can only wish him the best for the future.

Danny Guthrie – Another player to benefit from the purchase of Wayne Routledge which seen him move into the middle of the park to play in his favoured position. Mustered an impressive 38 appearances and four goals from this season and will be looking to build upon his impressive form and carry it over to next season.

Fabrice Pancrate – Flattered to decieve in his 16 appearances unfortunately, especially after his wonder goal against Watford at the start of what has turned out to be a short career on Tyneside. Never really did much wrong and it looks like a case that he just wasn’t good enough. Appeared to enjoy his time with and I wish all the best for the future.

Wayne Routledge – Signed in January and has made 17 appearances since. Injected some much needed pace into the side and the team looks so much more balanced with him in it. Has a point to prove next season at Premier League level and I feel that he is capable of grasping the chance of top flight football with both hands.

I have left out players like Damien Duff and Geremi because their input for us this season was so neglible it doesn’t warrant me wasting any space on a page. Haris Vuckic has also been left out as he is undoubtedly one to watch but I feel it would be unfair to judge him on just a handful of appearances.

What d’ya reckon? Agree or disagree?

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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88 Responses

  1. I feel bad for Smith…perhaps there’s some type of curse surrounding the owner of the team wearing your number.

    I remember back when Keegan put Joey on the spot to take (and score) a penalty kick, I felt it was the right thing to do. I would love to see a game in which Smith is given the go ahead to take a penalty. I’ve always been a fan of his, even when he was back at Leeds. I’d hate to see him NOT score for the Toon.

  2. oh shoot…was I supposed to say FIRST or some lame crap like that…I don’t know blog etiquette.

  3. I would love to see Smudger score as well…bet the place would explode and more would follow.

  4. For me Guthrie and Barton too start next season as our central midfield pair . Routledge and spidey on the wings , cant think of a beter midfield outside the top six . Nolan and Vuckic as subs when playing 442 when we play 451 nolan too start .

  5. Guthrie was top of my list by the end of the season. Gutierrez went up in my estimation and Nolan’s contributions just can’t be ignored. Smudger dropped off the radar and the pace after Christmas but was crucial early on. Routledge was a breath of fresh air when we needed it.

    Sorry, I should have just said I agreed…

  6. Toonsy, cheers for these review articles, properly enjoyed them.

    Does Big Dave really bum Joey? I do too. Best midfielder on our books, he has 2 fans now!

  7. Toonsy I agree with most of what you said ye dirty dog. I think Axel has it right Guthrie and my youngun Joey, with Routledge and Jonas on the wings to start next year BUT I cant see CH dropping Nolan even for 1 or 2 games

  8. BigDave i think your right about CH not dropping Nolan , after all i think he will be club captain next season . Just think Guthrie and Barton have more creativity and pace than any other pair in our squad for cm . i can even see Guthrie forcing himself into the England squad in the next couple of seasons .

  9. with everyones comments i am struggling to see who will lead the toon at the start of the season. Only thought is harper as no-one is naming a stable midfield general other than barton… Who will chris name? Does he have the balls not to name smudge. And in response to smith taking a penalty please please please let him just to remove the stat. I see the mail is linking newcastle to a keeper again london idiots. We have to think about keeping the ones at the club happy. Contract talks for krul. Year left on his contract

  10. I don’t no if you guys would agree that maybe our first touch has been lacking at times, that’s my main concern for next season is our first touch and losing possession cheaply because of it…

    I would agree that we don’t have to make drastic changes, what do you guys think about who is our strongest central mid pairing, assuming we play 4-4-2?

    Smith & Nolan…Smith & Guthrie….Nolan & Guthrie….quite a few combo’s….do we need to get a central playmaker>?

  11. Axel I really hope im wrong but I think Guthrie will be the one making way most times for either Nolan, Barton or Smith :(

  12. Big Dave i hope your wrong too m8 , the worst case senario is if he were to go Smith , Nolan . That would be a disaster no pace , no creativity . My god i think i am going to have nightmares about that duo .;(

  13. The Daily Mail recons us and Bolton are after a Denmark goalkeeper. Whenever the nationals link us to a goalkeeper I always think what a pile of s###.

  14. i think we will be playing 451 alot next year. Would hope we play 451 against stoke and learn from other clubs as they are forceful. Steve R no barton. Seen ireland may leave for 12million. ashley make one marque signing :).

  15. DJG i did say london idiots. Didnt think the mail would just include us. But then again we will be linked with alot of ikea native players. As we scouted that area this season so i’m to believe

  16. bowburnmag says:
    May 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    “Guthrie was top of my list by the end of the season. Gutierrez went up in my estimation and Nolan’s contributions just can’t be ignored.”

    Gutierrez will be a complete revelation next season.

  17. I like it how you say that like it’s fact, Worky.

    I hope you’re right but there’s not much evidence to back your theory up.

  18. toonsy:
    May 7th, 2010 at 10:09 pm
    Stuart79 – yes, why?

    You said you were stopping commenting.

  19. i think our midfield is quite strong… smith, nolan, guthrie, barton, routledge, guti plus vuckic (which i hope we see more of now he’s fit again)

    barton guthrie and vuckic are all quite creative players… smith is now a holding midfielder and he has the qualities for such a role… i would like to see a striker come in and a rb/cb to cover simpson and tayls/williamson/collo

    all the talk about keepers? nonsense!

  20. Agree that the keeper talk is nonsense……he’s in his 30’s and is behind Sorenson for God’s sake!!!! we have 3 keepers better than Sorenson.IMO

  21. krul put in a great performance last week… and foster has done well at norwich… least of our worries this whole keeper mumbo jumbo!

  22. anyone else think we need a couple of wingers and a left back and possibly a cantre back ?

  23. Ha now the Daily mail recon Stoke want Carroll for 5M plus players, with possibly Liam Lauwrance, Dave Kitson or James Beattie being offered!!!!!!!!!!! As if we would want any of those hasbeens.

  24. they’re not even ‘hasbeens’ mate,they’re ‘never weres’.I wouldn’t want any of them.

  25. You will get what you are given RichieToon…Big Mike makes the decisions round here :)

  26. It’ll be Messi and Ronaldo on their way then if Big Mike has owt to do with it

  27. “Alan Smith – Still hasn’t notched his first goal for Newcastle in 32 appearances, and probably never will.”

    hahah, very optimistic. But I have a feeling that he will score in one of the first games, next season.

  28. Also we need a new defensive midfielder, as without doubt CH is going to play 451 on away games, but playing Smith in that position will give away too many fouls, which will lead to dangerous set piece situations, we need a natural in that position.

  29. Has Coloccini ever played defensive midfield or is this just a piece of information everyone picked up from Football Manager 2 years ago, when it listed he could play that position?

  30. I’m sure I read that he had wickyww,as for football manager I’ve never played it mate. I think he could do a job there in an emergency but wouldn’t want to see him there too much…..actually thinking about it,did he not have a game there for us last season??? I may be wrong though.

  31. I don’t think it’s the best option, we can’t play our best central defender out of position as a DM. Also a DM who might provide team with deep crosses and decent range of passes would be good, central defenders can’t offer that, they are naturally afraid of the ball.

  32. I don’t think he would be either,like i said maybe in an emergency.If he plays in the prem like he has this year then he has to stay in defence.Whey I s’pose I better hit the sack,airport for 7 tommorrow.
    Roll on next season.HWTL

  33. Toonsy – you’re getting good at this. It’s hard to quibble with any of the above.

    As you say Nolan is nailed on as a regular starter next season – barton hard to leave out too. I imagine that leaves guthrie and smith fighting over the holding role – and routledge giving way to guthrie on the wing in tough away games.

    It all begs the question – how to strengthen? I would venture a 3rd winger option – maybe someone who is younger and happy to be rotated over the season. The only other requirement is an electric, creative support striker who can play off one forward and drop back,, in the beardsley mould. Not many knocking around alas, Moses was that player too.. damned nation.

  34. Colo can play the DM role and has done for Argentina before, in real life, not FM ;)

  35. colo has played defensive midfield for the toon, under JFK or KK. we had an injury and he stepped up. played very average

  36. hitman says:
    May 8, 2010 at 8:34 am

    But it does say that the £4-5m asking price might be a stumbling block!

    You know of any good players who cost less than that?

    We are shopping at Aldi!

    Fckin discraceful! What’s the point in having a wealthy owner?

  37. Stuart-I wouldn’t read too much into it. We were linked with Richardson last season and nothing came of it. Carroll was linked with Stoke last season, nothing came of it. The rags are useless. They’re spewing up old sh!te cos they’ve got nowt new on us man!

  38. I have no doubt it’s bull sh1t, but it just goes to show where we are as a club when the likes of Stoke are being linked with our best striker!

    There’s no way he would leave to go there, (I hope) well unless they offered him more money and I wouldn’t be suprised if they could offer more money.

    I’m just really quite concerned about the noises that are coming out of the club ie money, players needed ect..

    If Hughton really believes we only need 2 or 3 players this season he really is deluded.

    We’ve lost more than that from this seasons squad – So they need replaced – We had a totally lob sided squad this season, so we need more than 2 or 3 players!

  39. Stu – The only thing that is coming out of the club is guff through the papers.

    I expect there will be more than 2-3 signings. Much like in January, I think by the time the window shuts we will have a pleasant surprise.

  40. Stuart-I’m canny convinced he wouldn’t leave us like. Certainly not for Stoke. He’s a local lad, he’d much rather be living in Newcastle i’m sure and playing for us. As for Richardson, I dont think i’d bother with him to be honest. It’s just a recycled story.

    I do agree with you however RE Hughton apparently saying we only need a couple of new faces in. I’m hoping it’s all smoke and mirrors. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was to be honest, given the way January’s window panned out. We need 4 players minimum i’d say.

  41. Denis Wise is on Soccer AM at the mo.

    He’s already been asked “what exactly happened at Newcastle” – and he’s basically said that “some of it was my fault, but I can’t be responsible for what happens in the team – that’s down to the manager” and he also said “Mike Ashley got rid of me”!

    Apart from his simplistic summing up of his time with us, he hasn’t come close to taking any pot shots (unless he did before I switched on half an hour ago).

  42. I remember saying at the mid point of the season that Guthrie should be an automatic starter in every game and taking some flak coz of it. I have to admit that I thought Nolan was older than he is but he is still a spring chicken with plenty of life left in his legs. even without any new signings I reckon we have the makings of a good mid field setup.
    How long to next season!! ;)

    Big dave did you get my comment re. taking pens, pencils etc. to Cuba. I don’t know if things are different now but it was worth doing a couple of years ago.

    On the political front (sorry Toonsy) I see that the NE is still very much red, seems that people still do the “It was good enough for my grandad so it’s good enough for me” pity!!

  43. BigWilly

    “I see that the NE is still very much red, seems that people still do the “It was good enough for my grandad so it’s good enough for me” pity!!”

    Yeah. It’s a shame we Geordies just can’t think for ourselves ;)

  44. Jesus christ, it’s a slow news day today. Even for transfer rumours, most of them have been done before.

    Anyone have any ideas about a subject to write about?

    I have the final player review planned but I want another one aswell, and I’m struggling to think of something :(

  45. Toonsy how about one on the Political makeup of the NE ;)
    Big Willy :) no never seen yer comment, but I wouldnt have time mate will be too busy checking out the cigar shops with Joey :lol:

  46. Dave – If I started on the political makeup of the NE then I wouldn’t stop. It’s very personal to me, but this is a football blog so I wont ;)

  47. Doubt it Dave, he seems to have an eye for a player.

    Best could be a millstone round Hughtons neck. He was after all his most expensive signing of the window.

  48. same old stuey – always whingeing!

    will whoever is in charge of this blog please add an ‘ignore button’. i know everyone has an opinion but reading spews vitriol depresses the hell out of me.

  49. Stuart79 says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    “Best could be a millstone round Hughtons neck. He was after all his most expensive signing of the window.”

    Does anyone know what we actually paid for Best? It’s undisclosed but I have heard anywhere between £800,000 to £2 million. Would be disappointed and surprised if it was nearer the latter for a player we could have had for free in week or so.

  50. just think – if any one of you lot who continually slate best were in charge of the toon last season we would have been without colo and jonas for this one.

    fair enough – he’s done little to impress thus far, but he’s only had 5 minutes.

    some players take longer to be in than others. give the lad a chance will ya ffs.

    and trust in hughton too. thank fook he’s not as fickle as some of you lot.

  51. toonsy says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Llambias said we spent over £4m didn’t he? Routledge was less than a mil according to BBC Newcastle, Williamson was about 1 mill so we can do the maths.

    One thing we know is that he was more than £1m – Coventry are saying nearer £2m.

  52. Toon Chicken says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Doesn’t matter how long you give someone who isn’t good enough – He doesn’t look like he could be a PL player imo.

    Jonas and Colo have both played for Argentina so I think it was a decent bet that they could play well at this level.

  53. Well Coventry, Portsmouth and QPR don’t have to lie do they? It does seem to add up.

  54. stu – what’s your flucking point man?

    seriously – what does it matter?

    you always reckon you’re not negative – just realistic – its your opinion blah, blah
    , blah – yawn yawn!!

    if that’s the case why not write about what great buys williamson and routledge were? why not praise hughton and ashley for purchasing a couple of absolute gems for next to nothing?

    because you’re a whinging moaning gas bag – thats why!

  55. Toon Chicken says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Don’t make me laugh!!!

    Did you really just type that Routledge and Williamson are absolute gems?

    Unbelievable – Really unbelievable.

    That opinion is as ridiculous for it’s positivity and stupidity as you think mine are for negativity.

    Routledge has had more clubs (PL)than Tiger Woods and has failed to make any impact at any of them.

    Williamson is that good that Portsmouth thought they’d sell him without even playing him – They really needed players at that time too!

    I actually think Williamson played well this season, but looked pretty ordinary against players who kept the ball on the floor.

    So you cannot actually say their both ‘absolute gems’.

    That’s just made me laugh – Thanks.

    You remind me of Stardust – A prick!

  56. Big Dave, honestly mate it is worth checking out, could earn you lots of kudos with the Cuban people.

    Toonsy, trouble is, is that we are all on a bit of an anti climax now the season is over. Ed’s blog is looking a bit like the Lib-dems as he trys to generate a bit of interest but as yet there is nowt to focus on other than wild speculatulation re the transfer market.
    So as a bit of a change and a quote from QI, did anyone else know (culture bit here) Descarte fancied cross eyed women.

  57. How much did we end up paying for Simpson? Does any one know? Everywhere I’ve look says undisclosed. Whatever is is it comes out of the total spent in January.

  58. Big Willy – I agree that there isn’t much going on at the minute with regards to Newcastle.

    The trouble with talking politics is that it inevitably descends into trouble and arguing, it always has and always will. Same thing with religion.

    I really don’t mind what anyone talks about as such, and most know that threads generally turn into banter on here and wander from the subject at hand. Having said that, I think I’m justified in trying to stop the political stuff to steer everyone away from arguing with each other about something the blog is not about.

  59. Cheers spew – you remind me of your hero, Gordy Broon – a loser! ;)

  60. Toon Chicken says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Just off to stick pins in my eyes – Reckon it’s better than talking to Stardust, er sorry Toon Chicken.

    Ta da

  61. Fair enough Toonsy, valid point. One thing I would say though is that I see the blog (or any)as a bit like being down the pub with a few mates with the craic being a bit more than football, although with a teams supporters it would be the main topic.

    As regards Best I really don’t see how we can judge a player who has only been with us for half a season and not getting many full games. There are several of the England current strikers who got poor ratings for many years but have come good in the end. I say lets give him a chance to prove himself. There were a lot of people who were prepared to write of Big Andy prior to this season.

  62. Of to a friends for a Pagan celebration for rest of day, catch you all later.

  63. Stu the reason Williamson didn’t play at pompy is becuase they couldn’t afford to pay watford the extra fees, surely you knew that? I’ve got a good feeling about routledge, he’s got a point to prove in the PL and with any luck he’ll turn out alright. He’s not an ‘absolute gem,’ but certainly an astute buy

  64. Big Willy says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    “Fair enough Toonsy, valid point. One thing I would say though is that I see the blog (or any)as a bit like being down the pub with a few mates with the craic being a bit more than football, although with a teams supporters it would be the main topic.”

    True, to a point. But I feel its couter-productive to carry on with a subject that is notoriously troublesome, although I obviously understand it is very topical at the minute. All it takes is one comment from someone who at the opposite end of the political spectrum to say something contoversial and all hell can break loose.

    Just from yesterdays little ‘discussion’ it has caused one person to stop coming on here and another to say he isn’t coming back. People don’t know that is the reason why I asked the politics to stop (the former, the latter happeed after I asked people to stop), for the good of the blog. Yet I still get called an arsehole on a pwer trip whilst trying to keep people coming back.

  65. It’s taking me AGES to review the strikers :(

    Not long now though, hopefully.

  66. Cant wait to see what you say about Best :lol:
    Big Willy tbh with Big Andy ye could see that he had something But with best the only thing I have seen is that he has trouble staying on his feet at times and he is good at the odd air shot :lol:

  67. wonder who set these stories about poor big dave going to cuba with J.B ;)i know the lad has”nt time to go,to busy counting his money,will sit on the fence regards best would just liked him to score he just seemed to be very tight when i saw him play needed to relax a goal ime sure would have helped imo

  68. I may write something about Joey and Dave’s blossoming love Icedog, add a bit more fuel to the fire ;)

    Feck all else about. Although I have just bee reading about Lord Westwood which has inspired me a little:)

  69. What we have as a midfield was ok for the second tier but we should be attempting to improve the side.
    We have needed an engine room player since we were dumb enough to let Scott Parker go, Sissoko or O`Hara anyone
    That plus a playmaker and i understand one of the best playmakers come goalscoring midfielders will be available this summer, thats Steve Ireland, would`nt be surprised if Man.U. came in for him,
    Worth bids would be satisfied if we got two out of the three, rather than go for a bunch of cheapo`s.

  70. Guthrie and Smith are very average, can’t believe some of the hype over Guthrie. He hasn’t much pace, isn’t very creative, and doesn’t make many tackles. He is a good squad player but nothing more.