Are the pre-season friendlies worth the money? Personally I think they serve a purpose for the players . but those who travelled to Holland yesterday deserve a medal bigger than those presented at the Olympics.
Papisse Cisse looked sharp in the Kyocera Stadium - despite having his Olympic dream shattered by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew - and that can only be a good sign that he has got over his disappointment.
OK there was some half decent football at times, but no-one suffered injury, and that is a major priority.
Cisse came close with a second-half header that was blocked on the line.
Alan Pardew: “Papiss looks really good. He has been very sharp in training, very impressive. We like what we’ve seen of him so far.”
Davide Santon caught the eye, as did Cheick Tiote who coasted through this, passing crisply and winning every tackle he made, some more robustly than others.
But this was a friendly, so both sides played at around 75 per cent and nobody, understandably, was diving into tackles.
Although Jonas Gutierrez must have wondered about the friendliness of it all when Den Haag captain Danny Holla dumped him on the sidelines after 13 minutes with a tackle that was as late as it was high.
Chances were few and far between in the first half.
On 19 minutes, Ryan Taylor hung his cross from a corner, which Demba Ba met with some force, but he couldn’t direct his header under the bar.
Six minutes later and a Gabriel Obertan effort on the half-volley from inside the box was well blocked by Den Haag keeper Gino Coutinho.
Den Haag hadn’t contributed much until the 32nd minute when a long diagonal pass caught out Ryan Taylor at right-back, as he allowed Mike van Duinen to control and set up a chance for himself, only to get what seemed a simple lob really wrong, his effort bouncing harmlessly wide.
It was confirmed at half-time that racist chants had been aimed at Newcastle’s black players during the game from a section of the home crowd.
Santon was lively throughout the second half, playing more as a winger than left-back, and Den Haag never quite got to grips with the Italian.
The Dutch, however, carved out a half-chance on 52 minute when Rydell Poepon headed straight at United keeper Tim Krul, back at the club where it all began for him.
Cisse came close to getting his first goal of the summer on 63 minutes when he rose higher than everyone else in the box to connect with another Taylor corner, only for Den Haag’s Stanley Elbers to clear off the line.
Pardew made several changes in the second-half and switched from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 when Shola Ameobi got the last 20 minutes.
Newcastle did get the ball in the net with ten minutes to go. Mike Williamson headed a Gael Bigirimana free-kick across goal and Ameobi was on hand to tap the ball home from close range – only to discover he was just offside and the goal didn’t count.
DEN HAAG (4-4-2): Coutinho; Wormgoor, Omeruo (Malone 58), Holla (Supusepa 45), Meijers; Horvath (Beugelsdik 86), Toornstra (Elbers 45), Chery, Jansen; Van Duinen (Vicento 45), Poepon.
NOT USED: Zwinkels, Ammi, Radosavljevic, Visser,
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Krul; S Taylor (Gosling 65), R Taylor (Perch 71), Coloccini, Santon (Simpson 80); Obertan (Bigirimana 71), Tiote (Ameobi 71), Vuckic (Williamson 65), Gutierrez; Ba (Amalfitano 82), Cisse
NOT USED: Harper