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Eddie Howe Press conference ahead of Man Utd clash: Team News, Transfer Talk and VAR



Credit - SCOTT HEPPELL via REUTERS - Eddie Howe unhappy with officials and use of VAR...

Eddie Howe talked to the press today ahead of the Premier League fixture against Manchester United at St. James’ Park on Monday 27th December – 8pm kick-off.

The game next week brings to an end an extremely challenging Christmas period, as Newcastle face a run of winnable matches in their quest for survival.

Manchester United returned to training earlier this week after a covid outbreak at the club and therefore haven’t played since December 11th.

Howe confirmed today that there are no cases of Covid at Newcastle United and he’s hopeful that both Emil Krafth and Javi Manquillo will be available after illness.

After the visit of the Red Devils, the Magpies play: Everton (A), Southampton (A), Watford (H), Leeds (A) and the reverse fixture against the Toffees.

The upcoming fixture list provides Howe’s side with the perfect opportunity to get some much needed points and add to their tally of 10 after 18 games.


Newcastle have the worst defensive record in the league having shipped 41 goals so far this campaign and will be looking to sign some major reinforcements at the back in the upcoming January transfer window.

When asked about Dan Ashworth and transfers on Thursday Morning, Howe responded by saying:

“I highly respect Dan and his work, but I won’t go into any more than that. I don’t think it’s right. He works for another football club. Yes, I highly respect and like him, but I won’t comment any more.”

Eddie Howe then commented on on Nick Hammond, who he’s known for ‘a number of years’:

“I’ve known of him and his work. He’s a really good guy and very keen to help the process and add his experience to the football club.”


Eddie Howe:

“We have a few players that are still out. Federico Fernandez, Paul Dummett and Jamal Lewis will all miss the game but we’ll hopefully have Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo back from illness.”

Paul Dummet was pictured in training this week and is expected to return to the squad in the coming weeks with Howe hoping he is back sooner rather than later given the importance of the upcoming fixture list.

“It’s brilliant, but I can’t put a timescale on when he could come back.”

Eddie Howe speaking in the main press conference on Covid cases:

“We have a clean bill of health currently and we’re going though our testing every day.With the current infection rate around the country, we’re doing well at the moment to stay clear of it.”

With this most recent team news it seems that Newcastle might make a few changes for the clash with Man Utd. Schar may potentially replace Clark, who perhaps again showed his lack of Premier League quality, while Javi Manquillo could return in place of Jacob Murphy.

Allan Saint-Maximin seems to have got over his reported injury sustained in the defeat to Liverpool and featured in the second half on Sunday, meaning he is likely to make the starting eleven against Man Utd.

Jonjo Shelvey missed the game against City as precaution due to his history with injuries, but isn’t thought to have a ‘long-term’ issue.

The ex-Swansea man scored at Anfield last week and has been one of the most promising players under the new leadership of Eddie Howe. The manager hopes to have Jonjo Shelvey back from injury after missing Man City, although he couldn’t be seen in the training photos from Wednesday that the club released.

Isaac Hayden misses the clash with the Red Devils after receiving his fifth yellow of the season last time out.

Federico Fernandez

Credit: @Fede Fernandez instagram


“It’s a difficult one to put a timescale on but it’s weeks rather than months. We’ll wait and see how he responds. He’s definitely going to be out of the Christmas period and most of January but he’s working hard and improving every day.”

Jamal Lewis

Credit: @JamalLewis Instagram


“I don’t think it will be too long. It’s not a major injury but it’s enough to keep him out of the festive period and some games in early January. Hamstring strains are usually 3-4 weeks minimum and I think that’s probably where he’ll be.”


Eddie Howe:

“When VAR was introduced I think it was used regularly to try and get the right decision because that’s what we’re all after. I think the use has been diluted and I don’t see it effectively intervening as much as it did in a positive way.”

The Newcastle boss then explained the reasoning behind the complaints over refereeing standards after his side have been on the wrong end of VAR calls in their last three games.

Leicester were given a penalty by referee Bankes after a blatant dive by James Maddison and in the next game, Liverpool were allowed to play-on by Mike Dean and subsequently equalise after Isaac Hayden was down in the box clutching his head.

The worst decision of the lot came against Manchester City when the Magpies were denied a stonewall penalty by Martin Atkinson after Ederson uncontrollably collided with Ryan Fraser without the ball in sight.

Newcastle have asked for clarification on these decisions from a governing body…

Eddie Howe explained further:

“All we’re asking for is just some clarity on the decisions, really, and how the officials at the time, be they on the pitch at the time or VAR, have come to those decisions.

“That’s all we’re asking for.

“To try and help the processes for the future because those decisions have influenced the results, I have no doubt about that.”

He added:

“There’s been definitely a feeling of unjustness, I can definitely feel that without the group.There’s been a feeling of disbelief at some things within the games that have gone against us. I certainly have felt that at half-time and at the end of games, but my focus is on the future with the players and what we can influence.”


With the rapid rise in Covid cases experienced worldwide due to the new Omicron variant, the Premier League were forced to postpone six out of the ten games last weekend and are expected to cancel more games during the winter period.

The rise in cases has also raised questions over the potential for playing behind closed doors and limiting the number of supporters allowed in stadiums.

Scotland have announced they will be limiting numbers at sporting events and Wales have followed suit…

There is a distinct possibility that the Premier League will have to make changes to the current matchday regulations and manager Eddie Howe has said he is prepared for that.

Eddie Howe:

“I’ve always said I want to play. My point has been that for the benefit of the league you want a level playing field. It’s a tough challenge for the Premier League with postponements but the integrity of the competition is fundamental.”
When asked about limiting crowd numbers, Howe added:
“It would be the least preferential route for us. We know how important the fans are, since they’ve come in. We would hate to play in front of an empty stadium. But I am aware that the health and safety for everybody is important.”
Eddie Howe:

“We’ll ask the players to follow the guidelines but we also want them to enjoy their Christmas. They’re human beings and we want them to enjoy their time with their loved ones and look forward to a great game against Manchester United.”

He added:

“They’ll train individually on Christmas Day. The way the week has gone, we have trained & prepared but with the game being a day later we think it’s right, and within our schedule, to let them spend Christmas with their families. They will be working just in an individual way.”

Pre-match thoughts?

Can Newcastle pull off an upset against Man Utd? How confident are you that the Magpies can survive relegation?

Join in the conversation and have your say.

More to follow…






Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?




The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)



deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.


Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.


With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?


Toon are charging for Europe


If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.


Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 


In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.


Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed


Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 


Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.


Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.


Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 


On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.


Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.


Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 


With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?


So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?


Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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