Newcastle United have acquitted themselves very admirably since returning to the Premier League.
But once again the soap opera that is St. James’ Park has had more twists than an episode of Auf Wiedersehen Pet.
Chris Hughton and Andy Carroll have gone leaving new manager Alan Pardew with a lot of sorting out to do. And with £35million to spend in the summer he will be a busy man.
But who are the dead wood players holding back the club from taking the next step away from relegation trouble and into Europe. COS takes a look…
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With the departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool, much is expected of Best to fill the shoes of the big man. Granted, judgement should be left until the end of the season but he is only ever been a Championship player and will he be able to make the step up? If Newcastle want to be challenging for Europe a better striker than Best is needed.
Ok, so is he a striker who cannot score or a holding midfielder who cannot tackle? A dramatic fall from grace from being an idol at Leeds to struggling to get a first-team place at St. James’ has not been helped by injury. But with the emergence of Cheik Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa still to include, Smith’s position is clearly under threat.
The man is a legend. A towering centre-back who dominated in the air and could cover as much ground as any striker around. The only problem – that was 10 years ago. Newcastle have plenty of defensive options without relying on the former Tottenham and Arsenal man. A player-coaching role could suit him, if not, I hear Arsene Wenger is looking for a centre-back.
Yes he has scored some stunning goals but as a defender you have to be able to defend. Too many questions hang over Taylor’s head about whether he is Premier League class. He performed well in Newcastle’s push for promotion but has only played four games this season. This shows if the manager has doubts, he must be dodgy.
Why does he always get sent out on-loan? Does he still need experience? Or does he need to learn how to cross the ball? If you agree with the latter it shows what an average player Routledge is. A winger needs to be able to cross or have express pace. Routledge has neither. Newcastle sent him back to QPR and they should see if Neil Warnock wants to keep him.