Much of that will depend on what happens over the summer, but it’s not exactly a new experience, either for us or for the players.
It may have been a while since we got the passports and headed away with Newcastle United, but it wasn’t that long ago we were regulars on the European stage. Still time moves quickly and after a five-year absence it’s almost like starting all over again.
Not for the players though as we have a nucleus of them who have played in Europe before. It’s not like we are going into the competition blind which should help us mark a mark on the competition.
From front to back we have European experience within our team although admittedly to varying degrees. A look at the list below shows that most of our team have played in Europe before so they should have nothing to fear as a consequence.
Tim Krul – Limited experience, but remember that night in Palermo?
Davide Santon – Has played in Europe with Inter Milan.
Steven Taylor – Has made 24 appearances in Europe with us.
Fabricio Coloccini – Has played in Europe with Villareal and AC Milan
Hatem Ben Arfa – 34 European appearances for the former Lyon and Marseille man.
Yohan Cabaye – 35 European appearances for Lille.
Cheik Tiote – Has made 23 European appearances with Anderlecht and FC Twente.
Even players like Gabriel Obertan have got experience in Europe and of course you can’t forget Barcelona Shola!
You see what I mean? It’s not like our players are going boldly to a frontier that they’ve never experienced before. In fact most of those appearances have been made in a higher European competition than the Europa League!
I know it has its detractors, but personally I can’t wait for the draw to be made to see who we are up against. I just hope we get through the qualifying round!
If we don’t, it won’t be through lack of experience anyway…« Has your opinion of Mike Ashley changed? | NUFC video season review 11/12 »