Toon Defence Still A Concern
Has anyone else got concerns over the lack of depth in the Newcastle United defensive ranks? Bob Moncur has. Bob Moncur (talking to the Chronicle): “We’re fortunate that we still have some great defenders who we held on to despite relegation. “Players like Steven Taylor and Jose Enrique could easily have gone in a fire sale. “And it was this time last year we were talking about that exact possibility. But they stayed and played a huge part in getting Newcastle up. “They are certainly two lads you could build a defence around, but I just wonder what would happen if we lost people through injury and we had to bring the inexperienced lads in who will now be making the step up to the top flight.” RYAN TAYLOR - I think the best thing about Ryan (pictured left) is that he’s versatile and he can play in a number of positions. He probably needed more of a run in the team last season, but with Jose Enrique and Danny Simpson excelling, chances were limited and he didn’t get the chance to show some of the form he did at Wigan. With Simpson injured and possibly struggling to start the season, he could be handed his chance, then it will be up to him. DANNY SIMPSON - Danny made the right-back slot his own next season and will be doing everything he can to be back for the start of the new campaign. He’s made his move from Man United a success so far and it’s very much a case of so far, so good. His commitment and pace when overlapping was a joy to watch, I hope he can transfer some of that into the Premier League. FABRICIO COLOCCINI - The Argentine went from zero to hero last season and became a firm favourite with the fans. I think when Newcastle went down, nobody would have complained if he had left. But the Championship seemed to help Colo settle and play his natural game. He’s strong in the air and tough in the tackle. It’s now a case of whether he can show his critics he CAN do it in the top flight. MIKE WILLIAMSON -I was impressed with some of Mike’s towering displays last season, he really took the bull by the horns for Newcastle. I bet he still sometimes pinches himself when he turns up to train for Newcastle or plays at St James’ Park after a fairytale transition from Portsmouth reserves to the United first team. And that will get even better for him next year when he’s going to Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. If he rises to the occasion like he did for Newcastle in the Championship, he can only get better. STEVEN TAYLOR - I hope he isn’t sacrificed this summer. People often forget he’s still very much a young man but his performances down the years have been akin to those of an experienced defender. He’s wholehearted and loves the club, that’s a big thing for Newcastle - and will definitely be next season. He’ll be eyeing a starting place after injury, that’s for sure, and if Chris Hughton wants to play him at right-back in any absence of Simpson, it’s another very good option. JOSE ENRIQUE - Enrique was one of my picks for best player of the season last time around. He’s really settled in Newcastle now and can only go from strength to strength. Again, like Steven Taylor, people forget that Enrique (pictured right) is still a young man and has the best part of his career ahead of him. When he arrived here, he couldn’t speak the lingo but gradually he’s settled in. He’ll be straining at the leash next season in the Premier League, just watch. TAMAS KADAR - The Hungarian youngster will have his work cut out to command a starting place ahead of his peers. And he’ll also need to put every ounce of energy into any opportunity he gets. He’s shown promise and I do like him, he’s a typical, technically minded European player. I think he’s very much one for the future but if Newcastle aren’t able to spend he’ll get his fair share of opportunities.
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