A lot has been made of squad depth this season, with the perception being that we have a small squad with limited quality beyond our first eleven or so players.
Yet we’ve had to do without some of those key players for large parts of the season, and yet with seven games to go we are still level on points with fifth placed Chelsea.
One of the reasons for this is that I feel that Alan Pardew is getting to grips with how his players operate in certain positions and is basically getting the best out of some by using them as utility players, basically making what looks like a sparse squad into a solid squad/unit that actually belies the supposed lack of quality throughout the squad.
Out of this, he seems to have enough back up in most positions to effect a game offensively and defensively depending on the match at hand. I feel that he’s now got a grip of bringing in players that can see off a game in our favour and having full faith in those players to do just that.
James Perch is a classic example of a player that has been used in a variety of positions and has been used as a very good impact sub when closing out a difficult game, knowing that he gives 100% and isn’t afraid to mix it against any opposition and I think NOW, people are seeing that he’s really a very decent squad addition and that’s what we need, a sort of unsung hero if you like.
To some fans that probably sounds laughable and a few fans will no doubt stand by the fact that they called him crap, so he’s crap, end of story.
Basically there are a number of unfashionable players at Newcastle United these days, players that have been written off or have been viewed as not good enough, but each and every one of them has played a part in where we are this season.
First there is Ryan Taylor who has played in a number of positions and has done better than many (yes you Toonsy!) expected. From left-back to right-back to right-midfield he’s given no less that 100% when called upon and has earned us vital points with his goals.
James Perch and Mike Williamson are another two who have contributed this season, a particularly strong point in light of the victory over Liverpool at the weekend. Danny Guthrie is another who has performed well when called upon. Shola Ameobi is another.
The more Alan Pardew uses these players in certain positions, the more he sees what they’re capable of, obviously, but the benefit to the team and to the player himself is worth it’s weight in gold because players find out a lot about themselves and their abilities, plus Pardew is gaining the confidence in using them in games where his options are limited.
What are your thoughts on this? Are our squad player surpassing expectations? Have they been lucky? Or has the effect these squad players have had on our season been underestimated?