Alan Pardew has voiced his 'disappointment' at the performances of the Newcastle young guns in recent weeks.
Pardew has recently turned to the Toon youngsters such as Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid, James Tavernier and Shane Ferguson, in an attempt to turn Newcastle’s fortunes around. But he was unhappy by their level of performance in the 2-0 capitulation in Bordeaux.
Here, we question Pardew’s decision to openly criticise the younger players.
Coming into the match, Bordeaux had only lost 3 out of their 18 matches this season in Ligue 1. And yet Pardew decided to field a heavily inexperienced side, captained by a player who’s only started two matches this season in the league (Shola Ameobi).
Pardew started 6 U21 players, in addition to the lesser-played Elliot, Marveaux and Shola Ameobi. There’s no doubt that it’s Pardew’s rightful responsibility to pick the team. But when the team understandably is outmatched in nearly every position, the blame, in my opinion, should fall squarely on Pardew. When you pick a much inexperienced side as he did, you have the face the consequences yourself rather than blame the players.
Here’s what he said:
“It’s highlighted a problem we’re going to look into – our younger players.
“They’re going to have to do more work – they need to improve.
“All those young players are good players – they could play in the Championship, no problem.
“But this is Newcastle, and they need to be better.
“We learnt a lot against Bordeaux.
“The young players are going to find out that they’re going to do a lot more work on the training ground.
“I’ve got to be honest – I was a little bit disappointed with them. They’re all going to have extra work to do.
“We’ve got to make sure, out of this period we’ve had, that we learn some lessons.
“Not just myself and my coaching staff, but the players, the board and all my staff. We’re really going to push on now.”
This criticism is only going to worsen their already-dwindling levels of confidence and adds an enormous weight of expectation to a group of players who shouldn’t be exposed to that position in the first place.
I believe that the best way to introduce younger players onto a competitive stage such as this, is to introduce one or two of them at a time into a team made of more experienced players. As a result, they’ll up their game in order to match and compete at an acceptable level. Pardew’s method of playing them all at once wouldn’t have acclimatized them to the level expected.
I don’t like to criticise Pardew given all that he’s done for the club. I don’t want to appear as one of those headhunting fans that call for the sacking of the manager after just one bad run of form. But I have found myself increasingly frustrated by his team selection.
I don’t understand how he can expect an extremely inexperienced XI to deliver against a side who I feel he considerably underrated, especially away from home.
The real problem that we’re looking at is not ‘our younger players’, but rather the lack of depth in the squad. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed in January. We were able to upkeep the performances and fitness of the players last season, but the additional European matches this season have killed us.
A main priority now is to add weight to the squad, not just in numbers but quality. If we want to recover last season’s form in the league, and continue to make advances in Europe, we need to buy big in January.
What do you think? Let us know if you agree in the comment section below.