Do we have a versatile squad?

Dan Gosling
The utility man?
On every thread that I read nowadays the size of our squad is mentioned and how we’re going to be too light on numbers for the start of the season. I’m not sure that is the case, we have quite a lot of players, but they’re not all of good quality. One of the strengths of our squad has to be the versatility of some of our players.

Towards the back end of last season Pardew mentioned that we need to bring in players, but his emphasis was bringing in the right players to cover the right areas. We are yet to have our left back and striker which we have been promised, but I’m hopeful that they will come.

The players that Pardew wanted to bring in needed to have versatility he claimed, as covering a greater number of positions was important over the season. After remembering this I wondered who we had actually signed with versatility, and I’m not sure we have to be honest.

We do have some versatile players which I’m sure are going to be very useful over the course of the season, but I’m not sure that Pardew went out with the intention getting them, they were either already here or they were stumbled upon with a certain amount of luck.

First our new signings, are any of them versatile? Well, I’d say they were slightly versatile, if that makes sense. We’ve signed Yohan Cabaye who can play the defensive midfield role and the attacking midfield role, which is kind of versatile. Also Sylvain Marveuax can play on either wing, this is pretty common nowadays though as most wingers can do so. But is that the kind of versatile which Pardew meant? I’m not so sure.

What about the players Pardew inherited when he joined the club? Dan Gosling is probably the most versatile of a relatively versatile bunch. Gosling can play Right Back, Centre Mid and Right Wing all to a good level. The thing is, I’m not sure whether Gosling is going to make it into our midfield with the direct competition of likes of Joey Barton, Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye so he may become competition for Danny Simpson in the right back role, which adds an extra dimension to our squad.

Another player who is versatile is the talismanic Hatem Ben Arfa, as he can play on either wing or off the striker which will become very useful for us this season – if he manages to stay fit all year, and away from tossers injuring him. I imagine Ben Arfa will play off one striker away from home, but at home I think Pardew will feel pressured into playing 2 strikers and Ben Arfa will spend some time on the wing.

Ryan Taylor is also another player who can do a job in a couple of areas around the pitch. I know Taylor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought I’d mention him as I know how much Toonsy rates him. Taylor can do a job at Right Back, Right midfield and he’s played a few times in the centre of midfield and seemed to have held his own. I’m not a fan of Taylor at right back, but I feel he’s a good player for the squad as he can help out in a few positions and he has deadly free kicks. 😉

Other players that can play in more than one position are the young Shane Ferguson, Joey Barton, Mehdi Abeid and Jonas Gutierrez. Barton, Abeid and Jonas can play in a few positions across the midfield and Ferguson can play Left Wing, but he can also do a job at Left Back.

I’m not saying that we have a huge squad, but we have a squad which can compete with teams outside of the top six in the Premier League. Our versatile players are going to be very useful over the course of the season, so I hope we can stay relatively injury free and hopefully with a few more signings we can have a very good year.

Although we do have a few versatile players in our squad, I don’t think Pardew was the man who brought them in, and if he has it’s more luck than judgement. So is that more empty words from Pardew?

PS: I’m relatively happy with the job Pardew’s doing, so don’t take this as dislike for Pardew. But I do think sometimes he just says things to please us, so I’d take his words with a fistful of salt.

53 thoughts on “Do we have a versatile squad?

  1. All very well having versatility, but we can’t use it as an excuse to play players in different positions.
    They need continuity to get used to playing a certain way.

    For me, the best two players we ever had in the versatile role, were Steve Watson and Aaron Hughes.
    Two players that covered ever position on the field and never once let us down.

    If Gosling can replicate that, he’ll be a worthwile signing.


  2. A very good post and worth thinking about. I would agree that Pardew really hasn’t brought in very versatile players and those who are claimed to be versatile are mostly less talented such as Perch (remember how useful he was going to be?) and Raylor (his spot kicks are usually terrible, an occassional good one mixed in, and a good long throw in). Gosling may prove versatile but we have barely seen him. I disagree with saying Ben Arfa is our talisman, he has barely played for us! Shearer was a talisman. Ben Arfa is largely an unknown quantity. To my eye we have very little versatility and we have only a thin veneer of quality. Scratch the surface a little, especially at striker and across the back 4 and we are in deep trouble.


  3. Geordie 2 agree totally. I suspect that we will be shipping out before we by, except for the couple that have already been identified. I think we have at best 15 outfield players that are up to the standards we require.


  4. This squad is very strong in the midfield and in goal but weak on defense and striker.
    I’d tell Gosling to practice his defense and try to convert Routledge to the back if he does not ship out. They have to try to bring in a left back, as Ernrique is likely to put in his transfer at Christmas if it does not look like Toon will make Europe in 2012. They may have to go against policy to get someone who is older to play competently in that slot.
    Until another striker arrives they have to keep Ranger around because someday he just might bloom and make us all forget he who must not be mentioned. lf they can bring in a noted striker, get Ranger out on loan asap.
    I’d try to sell Best as his pace and style do not seem to mesh with the speed and guile of the midfield. He might do well at Stoke, where speed is not an issue and Pulis will teach him to stay onside. Looks like Loven & Shoila will muddle through, but not add much.


  5. I think most players are versatile to an extent. The problem I have with versatile players is that it isn’t very often they Excel in numerous positions. Every player has a favoured position from Sunday League up, and generally they will be happier and you’ll get more out of someone if they are played in their favoured positions.

    Too much versatility is a bad thing and can lead to confusion in my opinion. I mean look at Ryan Taylor as an example. He is still trying to convince people he is a Premier League player 😆


  6. Stuart – I think its answerable only by guesswork as we’ve yet to see tge full team all fit and in action together for various reasons 🙂


  7. Full team fit an in action? Are you taking the piss? We’ve only brought in two new midfielders (ready for 1st team), one of them is a winger and one has replaced our leading scorer. We need a creative flair player who gets all round the pitch a la HBA.


  8. Stu – Do you not think Ben Arfa has been earmarked to replace Nolan going by where he us going to be playing?


  9. Oh and just while I was thinking how about this for a thought?

    The club have consistantly said that all the Carroll money will stay in the club, well I think their right. What I actually think is that it’s being used to fill the hole left by Ashley taking some money out from the other revenues like TV to pay his loan back over time. This could be his plan, do we sell Tiote and Enrique etc and the club use the same line?

    Just a thought, whatever anybody says, £35m being spent on things other than transfers at a club that at least breaks even doesnt add up so what does everyone think about that scenario?


  10. I think Nolan is bring vastly over rated by some. He only got so many goals because the fat slob couldn’t move quick enough to keep up with play.

    If we get another striker that is better than what we have (apart from Ba) then I see Nolan being replaced with more creativity in either Ben Arfa or Cabaye, who had his best ever season in terms of goals playing where Nolan used to, with tge goals being made up by strikers who can finish.


  11. Just a thought, whatever anybody says, £35m being spent on things other than transfers at a club that at least breaks even doesnt add up so what does everyone think about that scenario?
    But do we break even as a club though? I guess we won’t know until we get the finacials from last year (first year back in the Prem). My guess is that we turned a bit of a profit due to the carroll sale but would have been in the red without selling him. If that is the case, i could understand it if the club only makes the profit available


  12. 😥 😥 😥 😥

    Cannit wait till sept 1 and the squad lists have been submitted. Hopefully the final list will put a smile on my face – however with the current squad we have… 😥 😥 😥 😥


  13. Alex, whats wrong with the current squad like?

    One season after promotion we cant expect to have a squad of world beaters, I mean ye, we need another striker, maybe a couple of defenders then we have a very good squad imo.


  14. Its versatile…..We have four who can play RB, 5 at CB, cover for most of midfield, and several attacking options. The problem is quality..we only have one proper and half decent right back, we have the bodies but not the quality for several positions..


  15. The way things are going we will need to have versatile players.
    Spence at 23 what will we have without a new Striker and a couple of defenders 😕


  16. Big dave..

    Defense I’m not so worried about

    I trust Raylor and Gosling at RB if Simmo gets injured, I trust fergie at LB if Jose gets injured and I truse willo at CB, that means I would like maybe another CB and another LB.

    Up front I trust BA and Best, I feel alot of goals will come for around the field aswell from HBA and co. (If players stop going in recklessly on Benny)

    So another striker, and I will be happy.

    I feel at the minute we have maybe 60goals in the squad between them.

    With another striker that could increase by 10 maybe 20 depending on the quality.


  17. What do you think we need big dave?

    I’m not going to lie, I will worry if we dont get a striker.

    But with what we have at the minute, I think we can stay up easy.

    I mean, our squad is better than that of Wigans or QPR’s or Swansea’s.

    We defiantly dont have the worst squad in the leauge.


  18. El toro, not a nice read that mate, I’ll hold my head up until we here from the club though 😀


  19. Spence

    Agreed. However, I would be surprised if the club were to do the same as what they did with Carroll. He was clearly badly injured, but they played it down and kept on delaying his return so that the fans didn’t urge/pressure them to sign a replacement/stopgap.


  20. aye, see what you mean el toro, but we have other players that can play there.. Jonas, cabaye ect.

    Also Carroll was in the shop window, MA and co didnt want to go telling other teams he would struggle to play again this season, I mean he did only play 8 for liverpool I think.


  21. Spence

    Good point. MA played that deal like a pro. We would probably have gotten around £25million if they waited until the summer.


  22. I wouldnt want to tho.

    He’s got all that money, and because hes fat as fok, hes wife is ugly as fok aswell 😆


  23. Some real violence in the city I live in tonight (Dundee)
    The Polish are over for a European game and the place is a warzone. Absolute disgrace.

    UEFA will be lenient no doubt, as they aren’t English


  24. They are setting off fireworks walking down the street, Kicked the windows of banks in the high street in.

    Heard off a mate him and his Dad were chased by about 100 of them throwing bottles at them, they both got hit. Worst thing is the Poles who did it probably took their jobs recently.


  25. Just hearing from people in the town that Tesco just got booted in and the alcohol raided. Numerous incidents of bottling and a reported stabbing.

    And that’s just what I have heard in the past half hour. 😕

    The country should be stripped of Euro 2012 to set an example.


  26. Spencer,

    It’s a small city in Scotland so it will have a huge effect on the place. You’re right though, UEFA will do nothing, slap on the wrist fine maybe.

    Be interesting to see the media coverage compared you a few kids scrapping at Darlo. 😕


  27. They’re only breaking stuff so they can fix it in the morning, no worries lads, its all good for the economy 😀


  28. Moreno, no mention of the trouble anywhere, Dundee musnt be on the list of teams for the press to get stuck into.


  29. BBC – no one got hurt….bollocks. I have mates who work in the hospital who will vouch otherwise, it was bedlam.

    BBC also report that police numbers deterred any significant problems….what an absolute load of pish that is too, the police were completely useless


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