Fringe player focus – Danny Guthrie

How do you rate the the G-Unit?
A lot has been made about our quality (or lack of it) in depth. Whilst our mighty club has made some quality additions over the summer, it was pretty much a one in, one out scenario that did not actually leave us any better off in terms of numbers.

The question is: are those players flirting around the periphery of the first team actually good enough to hold on to the shirt when they get a look in? Do they provide strong enough competition to keep the fist team lads suitably motivated? Have they got enough about them to ensure the club form does not suffer when we have to turn to them to do a job?

I will be having a look at these players in a bit of detail and leaving the floor open to you guys to discuss their long term value to our cause. You can also have your say in a vote on the subject.

The first player I’d like to look at is Danny Guthrie. A lad with a great pedigree, he is a product initially of Manchester United before deciding his development would be better served at Liverpool. He moved there as a keen, ambitious 16 year old and did very well. He captained the reserves side, earned call ups to the England youth sides up to the U-20’s and had very successful loans at Southampton and then Bolton, where he played European football.

He is predominantly a central midfielder, although he can ply his trade fairly well on both the right and left sides. We know he can score the odd goal; his winner against Leicester in our Championship winning season was typical of his potential and striking prowess. The boy can distribute the ball well too. In fact, I’d say he is a very good passer and that quality means he could fit this team’s new style of play with ease if this were the only factor required.



When he signed for us, King Kev suggested the lad was the next Rob Lee (no pressure mate!). I see the similar attributes – the long range strikes, the great work ethic and engine – but I don’t see the cutting edge, the ruthlessness required to take a game by the neck and strangle the life out of the opposition.

His tackling is so-so. At 5’9’’ and 11.5 stone he is not the most imposing of central midfielders. That can easily be overcome by a steely attitude (take David Batty for example). He generally suffers more fouls than he gives away, which suggests the opposition find him a threat, but I feel if he had more confidence he could really dictate games when he comes on instead of simply blending in.

From his early years, it was obvious he had a decent left peg on him, but for some reason he seems very reliant on his right these days. I think this holds him back. The lad is a great pro, not an attention seeker, no trouble with drink or attitude etc. He is the kind of lad that makes a group of individuals a pleasant one.

I’m not convinced that Alan Pardew rates him that highly. In the Championship he was instrumental for us. 40 starts, 12 assists and 5 goals. However back in the Premier League with Ben Arfa, Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote dominating the middle he had to settle for scraps – 12 starts, 1 assist and no goals. This pre-season he looked sharp and ready. Then he got a bad knee injury and has so far managed an average performance at Nottingham Forset before coming on as a very late sub versus Wolves.

At 24 years of age, the lad still has some learning to do which will depend on how much game time he gets. That could be difficult with Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote storming the Premier League at the moment. However, I for one feel the Shrewsbury born player could prove to be an excellent long term squad player for us. All he has to do is believe in himself a bit more and express himself when he gets the opportunity, the question is has he got another gear in him to make that step up? If so, will he be happy sitting on the edge of the 1st team over the next 3 or 4 years?

So, vote is on lads and ladies

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Thanks to Shamrock for sending this in for debate. He has a series of these lined up so I’m sure you’ll see more of him on the NUFC Blog writing scene.

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

51 thoughts on “Fringe player focus – Danny Guthrie

  1. Good read Shamrock.

    I don’t know what it is about Guthrie. Sometimes he looks fantastic, but then other times he just seems to retreat into his shell. He’s not going to get in to the team at the moment so a lot depends on whether or not he wants to stick about and wait or if he feels he can get a better chance of playing elsewhere.

    Very decent back up in my opinion is the G Unit 😉

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  2. I am not the biggest fan of Guthrie if I am completely honest, as he is not very consistent and normally needs a run of games before he starts to do anything of note.. but if he is given 4-5 games, he becomes a real threat to the opposition and can put in a decent cross or two.
    When he was played in the championship he never got involved in the game a lot, but he was being played out of position (Barton), and he much prefers the centre of the pitch.

    Given our current midfield pairing of Cabaye and Tiote, I find it hard to fit him in anywhere, but if injuries come along, or suspensions (Tiote) then he is a decent fill in while they are out. Unfortunately for Guthrie, I personally think he will only get to play in reserves or the cup for most of this season.

    Guthrie has lots of potential, but it is just getting him on the pitch that seems to be the problem. Wouldn’t like to see him sold, but it is looking that way for the lad. He can only sit on the sidelines for so long.

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  3. Cheers Toonsy, nice to be a part of a blog that encourages its readers to have a pop at writing 🙂 Ameobi #9 yes, the lack of games may convince him to go and play for somebody else. Shame if that happens, because I reckon with a bit of good management he could be a very capable deputy for Cabeye in the long term…

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  4. I don’t know what it is about Guthrie. Sometimes he looks fantastic, but then other times he just seems to retreat into his shell.
    ————————-
    Doesn’t that depend a bit on who he’s used? I think he’s put in a fair number of good shifts when deployed in a more forward role, much less so when used out on the right.

    I think he’s valuable for depth and we may need him when Tiote is away at the cup of nations. .

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  5. Cheers MDS. It’s a topic a few of us have brushed over occasionally whilst covering other debates, but not truly explored yet… It will be interesting to see what people really think about these guys. I think we may find a few surprises about what the fans actually think about 1 or 2 of them… 🙂

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  6. [email protected] says:

    Guthrie is a cracking player on his day, but his problems are more towards the mental side of things. He is often found wanting when the going gets tough. Potential is a word used to describe him for the past few years. Now 24, he really has to make a decision on his future. Is he going to be content playing second fiddle in a team? Or will he step up his game and grab teams by the scruff of the neck? I pretty much see the former happening. Potential long overdue.

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  7. I do see him as the player that will replace Tiote when he is at the African Cup of Nations. Some people have suggested Gosling or Vuckic to replace him but I see them more as players to back up Cabaye more than Tiote.
    Last year, I think Guthrie replaced Tiote when he was suspended quite well (apart from the dreaded West Brom away game)
    For me, Guthrie is an excellent back up player who can play DM or AM quite well but with Cabaye and Tiote playing I cannot see him pushing for a First Team Spot

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  8. Shamrock
    October 4, 2011 at 13:56

    “Cheers Toonsy, nice to be a part of a blog that encourages its readers to have a pop at writing”

    No worries mate. Always love getting peoples views out there. Strange *dig alert* considering I apparently try and stifle opinion 🙂

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  9. I think he is absolutely s*ite, one of the worst players I have seen play for the Toon in recent times. For every 1 great pass he does there are about 20 instances where he will give the ball away cheaply usually in a dangerous area and the start moaning that it was someone elses fault. On top of that he is absolutely soft as s*ite. Would rather play Smith if the likes of Tiote or Cabaye got injured which says it all really. Thankfully Pardew doesn’t seem to rate him either. Get rid asap.

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  10. [email protected]
    You’re 100% right!
    Danny Guthrie’s seems to be some mental. He only needs some time and some confidence and Im sure he can give us some good performances on the pitch. I see him as a Cabaye’s Backup but I would love to see him play sometimes alongside Cabaye and Ben Arfa, he is a great passer too!! We need to extend his contract until 2014!

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  11. [email protected]
    You’re 100% right!
    Danny Guthrie’s problem seems to be mental. He only needs some time and some confidence and Im sure he can give us some good performances on the pitch. I see him as a Cabaye’s Backup but I would love to see him play sometimes alongside Cabaye and Ben Arfa, he is a great passer too!! We need to extend his contract until 2014!

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  12. I actually rate Guthrie, not just as backup, but as a different option when we need a different approach to our play. His tackling may be a way off Tiote’s, but his distribution and speed in setting up counter-attacks seems a lot better. (Although Cheik has been good at that recently).

    He gets his head up and can spot a run from a team-mate, while Tiote will tend to look at his toes too long and end up passing backwards.

    He does need to be quicker and more aggressive, but he’s pretty useful, and I’d actually prefer him over Tiote when we’re playing against an overly defensive opposition.

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  13. I’d describe him as ‘ok’

    Not fast or slow. Passing isn’t brilliant nor terrible. He can finish a bit. Crossing is alright. General technical ability is average. Tackling isn’t particularly strong or weak. Not an imposing athlete. He can hold his own in the upper-Championship, lower-Prem

    Sometimes he performs to a level at the ‘good’ end of ok… others he’s at the bad end.

    I can see Guthrie getting some pitch time come the African Nations…. but sooner rather than later the development of Abeid will push him further out of the picture

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  14. WHUMPIE – yeah mate, there’s some revealing bits of info about how Pardew goes about running the club – very interesting read

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  15. M – That sums him up pretty well. He is a better passer of the ball than many give him credit for, but he just does not seem to have that steely determination to push on from his current level…

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  16. Does Guthrie have the same affliction as Shola? Is he doomed to never really be popular with many fans no matter what he does? With Shola even I can see why he annoys so many, but with Guthrie, if you take out his out-of-position performances on the wing a few seasons back, he’s been pretty good IMO.

    Perhaps it’s a case of first impressions last. I personally hope he gets a few decent runs out in Cabaye or Tiote’s position and gives AP a real selection headache.

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  17. I’ve always rated Guthrie. He’s obviously not the fastest of players, but his passing is clean, and he is always around the action.

    It would be good for him to work on his tackling and aggression though.

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  18. Tell you what: I’d not be wanting to face up to the reserves line-up we’ve got for tonight. We’ll face a LOT worse than that level of quality in prem 1st-team matches this season!

    Tear ’em a new hoop, lads. :mrgreen:

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  19. The big thing for me with Guthrie is that he has paid the price for standing still after the championship. Its not his fault really, but we needed experience last season and Nolan and Tiote gave us that

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  20. Guthrie represents something we’re going to see each time we progress: players left behind as others are brought in who are a notch upwards. Some manage to step up, like Krul, Taylor, Best; others either don’t manage it or need more time.

    With Guthrie I hope it’s the latter, as I think he has a much better awareness and footballing brain than most. He just needs something in his mentality to be able to apply it consistently.

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  21. @21 agreed about the aggression he doesnt have enough, i cant believe im gunna say this, vaavaavoom… :S

    good solid performer normally but like some others have said he seems to disappear sometimes which you just cant afford to do in the prem. hope he stays thou8gh as i think he can be inspired by the guys around him and achieve alot over the next 5 years.

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  22. He has been unlucky here, he had a great run at the end of Championship season, then got injured at the start of last season, thought put in decent shifts at the end of last season….

    He would be important come January when Tiote will leave for African’s Nations Cup in January….

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  23. if you take out his out-of-position performances on the wing a few seasons back, he’s been pretty good IMO.
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    Agreed Whumpie.

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  24. Have to agree with those that say it takes him a few games to really get going. How many players can that be said of though? Ba definitely needed quite a few (counting pre-season), Tiote looked pretty rough for a few games, Marveaux has needed a few, the list goes on and on. He can be a good player but I question his desire a little bit. If he doesn’t leave us he will always be on the fringe so I know what I would do. Better to play every game even in the Championship than get a few minutes here and there if you really love to play. All that said I would keep him until we are clear about players like Vuckic and Gosling. Are they going to press for first team places or peter out? Vuckic seems to be an injury waiting to happen and Gosling needs more playing time which will be hard to get. Really enjoyed the article and the discussion.

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  25. Toonsy is this typo or is Bramble back in the fold? The fist team sounds like something he’d be into…

    Do they provide strong enough competition to keep the fist team lads suitably motivated?

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  26. Good Geordietwo, like Toonsy pointed out I’ll be doing a piece on each of the players looking to knock on the door. Guthrie is an interesting one. The vote has suggested the majority would keep him, so we should probably be looking at offering him a new contract. If that happens, he has a decision to make: Stay and play from the bench or reject it and move on to a lesser club in exchange for 1st team footy…As it seems the jury has found that he will never be able to hold down a regular place in our line up…

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  27. Re Guthrie I’m happy enough for him to stay around. Good for the bench and cup games etc but wouldn’t be broken up if he left, as long as Pardew felt comfortable enough with abied/vuckic to trust them with the playing time and didn’t overburden the first team players as a result

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  28. Young Danny is a good player that I rate but feel sorry for him because he is always seen as a stop gap, there was noway he was going to get in ahead of Tugboat or Nolan not because he wasn’t good enough, but because they were to ‘important’ there was tonnes of times last year that Tugboat should have been hauled of because ? well simply because he was a lazy unfit bastad that run the team 😀 .
    But now Danny’s problem is that he is behind Tiote and Cabaye who are ahead of him.
    TBH I would understand if Danny wanted to move because IMO he is too good for the bench and while he is there he wont get better, it just a shame but atleast while he is here we know we have got a strong replacement ready if we need him.

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  29. Can see him leaving this summer. Would do a good job for Bolton/Wigan/westbrom/blackburn where he would get regular 1st team starts. That’s what he needs. He just doesn’t have an impact off the bench. And doesn’t seem to show any confidence coming on as a sub.
    Agree he needs to make a career decision this summer. He’s not a bad lad tho.

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  30. Big Dave:-
    “But now Danny’s problem is that he is behind Tiote and Cabaye who are ahead of him.”
    That sounds like something sir Bobby Robson would say 😆 😆

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  31. BB spot on mate he is a good Lad and imo he deserves to be playing regular footie, he has more to offer than just a backup benchwarmer, and if he does want to kick on his career he will need to make the move soon.

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  32. BB @ 40 it was abit of a Sir Bobbyisim 😆 what I really meant was that he was behind Nolan and Joey for the wrong reasons, but now he is behind Tiote and Cabaye for the right reason, because they are better 😉

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  33. Dave it’s two Japanese guys in mankini’s on some gameshow over there. Their television is nuts! It tickled me haha 😆

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  34. Good player with good ability, look at any other squad barring the few that can leave 20million buys languishing on the bench and tell me that Guthrie isn’t good enough to do a job for us as I believe that he should probably and would definitely get into other sides that finished around mid table like us last season. Cabaye and Tiote are better and compliment each other but i still believe that its squad game over the course of the season and that Guthrie will and can play a major part in that as long as he stays fit which has been his issue at times.

    I hope he stays and pushes for 1st team appearances it can only be good for our team. I have seen him play really well and really bad but that is true of all players, as long as there are more good than bad i wouldn’t want to get rid of him. My opinion of him has always been that he was not too far off Barton and that there is room for improvement and I for one will look for him to show that not cast him off or call him rubbish as he has prem experience and pedigree and still only mid 20’s. Pardew can get more out of him for sure…

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  35. Don’t really rate guthrie to be honest, and I’d rather give Gosling and Vuckic the nod ahead of him, even if he does offer something different, I feel Cab and Tiote outclass him massively, and he’s not much younger than them anyway.

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