Newcastle’s 5 best players so far this season

After 11 league games and two cup games, and as we enter the second international break of the season, it seems like a good point to take a look at Newcastle’s five best players so far.

As you’d expect from a team sitting third in the league, there were a few contenders for this list. However given the amount of rotation in the squad it seemed best to try and stick to those who have played more than a handful of games.

Players such as Ciaran Clark, Christian Atsu, and Deandre Yedlin deserve a mention for a series of consistent performances over the past few weeks, but this list focuses on those who have been performing well from the very beginning.

Will Lascelles make the step up?

Jamaal Lascelles

It’s fairly safe to say that even the most optimistic Newcastle fan wouldn’t have put money on Lascelles being captain within two years of signing, but that’s exactly what’s happened to the former Nottingham Forest centre half.


The skipper’s Toon career didn’t get off the best of starts last season, but under Rafa’s stewardship the 22-year-old has flourished. His display against Rotherham was possibly his best yet: Lascelles looked unbeatable both in the air and on the ground.

He’s been more or less the mainstay of the current team, and whether paired alongside Mbemba or Clark – both of whom have more Premier League experience – hasn’t looked out of his depth at all. Hopefully he keeps this up and becomes a regular name for the next few years.

Click here to see who else we think has been one of the club’s best players this season

50 thoughts on “Newcastle’s 5 best players so far this season

  1. Cheers Shola but yeah I have to agree Ritchie should be in there, probably as #2 behind Gayle IMO.

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  2. It is actually good that it is difficult to pick a top 5. I don’t think Dummett and Clark have done much wrong either. Imagine doing the same at this time last year? Krul, Wijnaldum, MBemba? It would have been much easier to name a worst 5 last year. And the cherry on top would have been worst manager in the PL at that stage.

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  3. Or Anita, he could easily be up there as a right back. Played well enough in the Championship to get recalled to the Dutch squad after 5 years or so.

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  4. Georgio:
    Here’s five I expected much more from.
    Perez
    Diame
    Sels
    Lazaar
    Mitro

    Is that a new article?

    Georgio – why Lazaar & Sels? – I understand the others as Perez & Mitro have had time to settle in with us, and Diame has the experience of the Championship & English football. But Lazaar & Sels are young lads settling into a new club – and Sels in particular has added pressure as he’s widely seen as Kruls replacement and the new no1.

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  5. Ritchie has to be on that list for me too. If it’s a top 5 then he’d replace either Lascelles or Shelvey – though both have started really well.

    I said some time back now that I see Lascelles being a regular for England and was slaughtered. But I still believe it. If he continues developing this season and can take it into the PL next season (providing we get promoted). Then I think there’s a good chance he’ll be in the England set up – may even make the Euros.
    But I hope Rafa makes a decision on who his partner will be. Clark and him have looked good in the last few games. But I think a settled back 4 would benefit Lascelles hugely.

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  6. Sharpy: do you know that when Lascelles was at Forest he trained with one of the England squads so they had their eye on him for the future? There really isn’t much competition at centre back in England. All you have to do is look at the current squad to see that. They also seem to get injured a lot.

    Who would he have to get ahead of to play? Smalling, Stones, Dann? Cahill and Jagelka haven’t got much left in the tank. Chambers seems to have regressed and I know next to nothing about this Keane bloke.

    I would say centre back is England’s weakest position at the moment.

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  7. Eric – I did mate, Roy brought him in to wet his appetite and focus his ambition.
    When you look at young English CBs, other than Stones, I’m not sure who else. When you look at the big teams, I don’t see anyone in their squads that are coming through.
    Lascelles has a great opportunity to get regular playing time under a top coach – who clearly rates him as he’s made him his captain. All he is missing now is PL football – if we can get back there next season, then he’s nailed on IMO.
    My only worry then would be that big clubs come sniffing – Chelseas defence is shit, Man Utd’s defence is shit – Arsenal, Man City – not great either. Early days yet, but big potential IMO.

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  8. Cheers lads. I thought I’d be in for more stick for not picking Ritchie!

    For me, while he’s got 3 assists, I think I expected a bit more from him compared to the rest. Granted I’ve only watched a few games this season, but in what I have seen he’s drifted out of games occasionally and not threatened as much as I’d expected him to.

    I left Clark out as he’s a late performer: wanted to go for the ones who’ve been consistent for the first 11 games. Good to hear your thoughts though!

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  9. Shola’s Ghost:
    Cheers lads. I thought I’d be in for more stick for not picking Ritchie!

    For me, while he’s got 3 assists, I think I expected a bit more from him compared to the rest. Granted I’ve only watched a few games this season, but in what I have seen he’s drifted out of games occasionally and not threatened as much as I’d expected him to.

    I left Clark out as he’s a late performer: wanted to go for the ones who’ve been consistent for the first 11 games. Good to hear your thoughts though!

    Sham – I don’t think there would be too much argument at those 5 having a good start to the season, but Ritchie would defo be in there too.

    I think more worryingly is that after those 6, perhaps other than maybe Anita & Clark, the rest have be well below average for me.

    I also think that Rafa has rotated the players a bit too much so far. Considering we are only 11 games in, he’s used a lot of players already. I think I would rather he allowed partnerships to form, particularly at CB and CM.

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  10. Bit late to this thread, didn’t realise one was up until I turned the pc back on.
    My top 5 Gayle, Goofy, Hayden, Shelvey,Ritchie or Anita

    Cheers for thread SG

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  11. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: do you know that when Lascelles was at Forest he trained with one of the England squads so they had their eye on him for the future? There really isn’t much competition at centre back in England. All you have to do is look at the current squad to see that. They also seem to get injured a lot.

    Who would he have to get ahead of to play? Smalling, Stones, Dann? Cahill and Jagelka haven’t got much left in the tank. Chambers seems to have regressed and I know next to nothing about this Keane bloke.

    I would say centre back is England’s weakest position at the moment.

    defo for the future Eric. he needs a full or at least half a season against the prem elite before he’d be considered

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  12. Kimtoon:
    Bit late to this thread, didn’t realise one was up until I turned the pc back on.
    My top 5Gayle, Goofy, Hayden, Shelvey,Ritchie or Anita

    Cheers for thread SG

    id go with that but Lascelles just edging Anita

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  13. Sharpy: I don’t see the point in a lot of rotation this early in the season, especially with these bloody international breaks when some of our players are not involved. BUT, it hasn’t hurt us. Remember we lost the first 2 games so that was not due to rotation. The other loss was Wolves and I can’t remember if we chopped and changed for that.

    I suppose come the busy Christmas period we will be happy that so many of our players have seen game time.

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  14. Gash: it was Sharpy putting Lascelles forward for England, I was just wondering about his competition. After considering that I do think he stands a chance. Who plays for the U21/23s? Could stick him in as an overage player there?

    Didn’t Steven Taylor once get called up to an England squad 🙂 Anything is possible.

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  15. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: I don’t see the point in a lot of rotation this early in the season, especially with these bloody international breaks when some of our players are not involved. BUT, it hasn’t hurt us. Remember we lost the first 2 games so that was not due to rotation. The other loss was Wolves and I can’t remember if we chopped and changed for that.

    I suppose come the busy Christmas period we will be happy that so many of our players have seen game time.

    Eric – it might not have hurt, but I don’t think it’s helped personally. I really think it’s important to have a bit of stability, particularly the back 5. Our defenders are young and I think rotating them unsettles them and can dent their confidence if there isn’t an obvious reason why they are being dropped.

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  16. Hard to comment on this, not having seen too many (like 2 I think) games. But I think the list is pretty good…with Richie being #6 and perhaps a different order.

    So, I am switching gears and getting a head start on things. I booked my tickets for travel, so my friend and I will be present for the Wigan game on April 1.
    I was going to sit in the Milburn Stand, as I did the only other time I’ve been to SJP. However, those tickets are not cheap. So now thinking of the other areas, Gallowgate or Leazes Stand. Any thoughts on where I should go? Where do many of you sit?

    Also, where’s the best bar/pub for a pre-game meet-up and drink?

    Not trying to hijack the thread…just didn’t know how else to ask.

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  17. Has Gareth Southgate been given the easiest audition for a 3 million a year job ever? Here, you have barely any experience save coaching a few kids, now go and at least not embarrass us and win a few games against 4 shit teams and the job is yours. They bottled it by appointing Mr. Roy who had totally failed in the only big job he ever had at Liverpool and then were shocked when Big Gob Allardyce opened his big gob.

    I remember when they would appoint the best available like Bobby Robson, Alf Ramsey, Don Revie and Steve McClaren. Oh 🙂

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  18. Seriously though, what are these clowns at the FA up to? They kept on Mr. Roy after an abomination of a World Cup. They said he was a man of integrity and yet he didn’t want to attend the press conference after the Iceland game, had a prepared statement and answered about 1 question. Integrity my arse. A bottler who went sightseeing before the biggest game of his career and handed the reins to Wayne Scouser.

    I suppose Southgate will be hailed as a hero if we beat bloody Malta. OK he is a nice bloke who probably won’t embarrass them to the media. But c’mon, if that is your criteria then you may as well hire Philip Scofield (he hasn’t had some scandal has he since I used to watch him on Children’s TV?).

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  19. Mbemba seems to be treading water somewhat this season… Lascelles for England, yeah would work, they are both average…

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  20. NorCal Toonfan:
    Hard to comment on this, not having seen too many (like 2 I think) games.But I think the list is pretty good…with Richie being #6 and perhaps a different order.

    So, I am switching gears and getting a head start on things.I booked my tickets for travel, so my friend and I will be present for the Wigan game on April 1.
    I was going to sit in the Milburn Stand, as I did the only other time I’ve been to SJP.However, those tickets are not cheap.So now thinking of the other areas, Gallowgate or Leazes Stand.Any thoughts on where I should go?Where do many of you sit?

    Also, where’s the best bar/pub for a pre-game meet-up and drink?

    Not trying to hijack the thread…just didn’t know how else to ask.

    Where to sit is a matter of choice mate,me I don’t like to be behind the goals I like to be on the sides so you can get a view of both goals more evenly,for a drink cannot really beat the strawberry outside SJP as I say it’s a matter of choice mate

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  21. Nor Cal, got to agree with Ice, I sit in the East Stand, fantastic view, been there for past 17 years. When I used to get my free tickets of Gav, used to be in the Milburn, but think where I sit now is an even better view. As for pre match pint, I hardly ever have one, but when coming over here, as Ice says, has to be the Strawberry, so much history, its the one to go to

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  22. Eric, could you handle someone non-English coaching your national team?
    I just wonder if the pool of candidates is artificially lowered because of that restriction?

    Eric Sykes:
    Seriously though, what are these clowns at the FA up to? They kept on Mr. Roy after an abomination of a World Cup. They said he was a man of integrity and yet he didn’t want to attend the press conference after the Iceland game, had a prepared statement and answered about 1 question. Integrity my arse. A bottler who went sightseeing before the biggest game of his career and handed the reins to Wayne Scouser.

    I suppose Southgate will be hailed as a hero if we beat bloody Malta. OK he is a nice bloke who probably won’t embarrass them to the media. But c’mon, if that is your criteria then you may as well hire Philip Scofield (he hasn’t had some scandal has he since I used to watch him on Children’s TV?).

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  23. NorCal: of course I would be OK with someone like Wenger. Southgate’s CV/Resume shouldn’t even see him in the picture and yet he seems to be on a shortlist of one. Anyway it looks like everybody is totally bored with the Three Kittens at the moment. I am not surprised after another tournament debacle and the prospect of the easiest qualifying group in the whole of world football.

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  24. I could handle Southgate keeping the seat warm for Wenger as long as there was an understanding that that is what he is doing. Really, this group is so easy that it is almost impossible to fck up so England should be in good shape in the summer.

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  25. So I’ve heard complaints here before that the FA picks the squad? Do you all think that’s really true and that the FA is picking a manager 1, that’s English, and 2, that they think can manage the team they pick?

    Or do you think the coach has a say in picking the players and it’s just that the same (wrong) players keep getting called up?

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  26. Norcal – you aren’t hijacking the site man!!, that’s what it exists for – toon fans talking to each other and sharing knowledge & experiences.

    It was always Milburn for me. That walk up Leazes Terrace and the old buildings at the back of the Stadium started the hairs on my neck before I even got into the stadium.
    But I have to say I was in the East stand last time I was there and the view was just as good – and the echo of the fans singing as you walk under the Stadium was pretty special too.

    We always used to start in the beehive and work our way up. But you won’t struggle to find a pub in Newcastle mate, and most will have their fair share of 50k geordies talking all things black n white.

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  27. I appreciate what you’re saying Shary. I just didn’t want to steal Shola’s fine article.

    I did absolutely love my time there, sitting in the Milburn Stands. The view was amazing and getting to see out to the city from on high was pretty nice too. I think I may try the East Stands this time.
    Going to be in Newcastle the Friday and Saturday night…would love a meet up with some of y’all if it can be arranged. Then we’re off to either Manchester for the Tuesday fixture at Old Trafford or we’re off back down to London for a match there and flight out that Thursday. Still have to work out the details.

    Sharpy17:
    Norcal – you aren’t hijacking the site man!!, that’s what it exists for – toon fans talking to each other and sharing knowledge & experiences.

    It was always Milburn for me.That walk up Leazes Terrace and the old buildings at the back of the Stadium started the hairs on my neck before I even got into the stadium.
    But I have to say I was in the East stand last time I was there and the view was just as good – and the echo of the fans singing as you walk under the Stadium was pretty special too.

    We always used to start in the beehive and work our way up.But you won’t struggle to find a pub in Newcastle mate, and most will have their fair share of 50k geordies talking all things black n white.

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  28. Doesn’t really matter as they’ll both qualify. Actually I think the entire international situation is just plain boring. Shame really when it used to be the highlight of the year watching players and teams you’d rarely seen before.
    There’s too much football, what with these extended international breaks and little leagues in the euro competitions. There’s a case (not financial of course) for everything going back to knockout. Far more exciting, meaningful and interesting. Malta FFS!

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  29. It must be bloody slow if the best story the papers can come up with is Milner’s sale 8 years ago.

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  30. Every area of the team seems to be taking shape except number 10. Rafa seems to trust Diame the most but he really hasn’t delivered. He doesn’t seem to have much faith in Perez or Mitro, and Murphy is injured. If we can get this position set I reckon we will be much stronger and will not have to rely on banging long balls to Gayle as much.

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  31. What I mean by taking shape is that Rafa now seems to have a preferred starter and then a backup who he will rotate. The exception might be Hayden and Colback who might be interchangeable. As the season progresses, I think one or 2 might push to usurp the current hierarchy – Elliot and Yedlin, especially.

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  32. Bugger it. I will go on a Rooney rant. In a rambling interview on Monday full of made up sh!t he had given an unbelievable explanation for the current criticism of him, that he had had a bad game against Watford and was therefore dropped but that was a blip. He ignored that he was sh!t in all of the other games this year, sh!t at the Euros and sh!t for at least 2 years. In typical fashion the journos never pulled him up on this. The only good game I can remember him playing recently was the FA Cup Final. Mostly, he pulls the team shape apart by coming back to the 18 yard box to collect the ball when he is supposed to be playing as a striker.

    He also said he might have to tell Jose where to play him. Good luck with that one.

    Still, Rooney will be back as good as new after a brace against the mighty Malta including a penalty.

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  33. Good article Shola’s Ghost mate. I would put Ritchie in the top 5 as well. The disappointing players are fairly obvious. For me the most disappointing two are Perez and Mitro, although Mitro isn’t getting much playing time. Perez has been terrible so far. Such a shame.

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  34. May as well Troy. I forgot Southgate had the England U21s finish bottom of their group at the Euros last year. So add that to his Boro relegation and the obvious thing to do is give him a 4 game audition for the 3 million a year England job. You already know Rooney will be calling the shots as he has already been given the midfield position.

    England are a joke, the England managers position is a joke and the biggest joke of all are the FA who selected a mediocre journeyman who had failed miserably at his only high profile job (Liverpool) and was kept after not getting out of the group at the World Cup. Followed by a corrupt self-promoting blow hard who had won nowt.

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  35. Clarky-o-Meter: Played 8, Points 6, Goal Difference minus 11. Position 2nd bottom same as when Lee took over last year. Last game, 4-0 home loss.

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  36. This is insane if the FA appoint Southgate full time. The MOST he should get is keeping the seat warm for Wenger. As I said, he finished bottom of the group at last years U21 Euros. This is some of the talent he took there and I bet they are worth upwards of 200 million in today’s market:

    Butland
    Calum Chambers
    Michael Keane
    John Stones
    Will Hughes
    Jesse Lingard
    Loftus Cheek
    Nathan Redmond
    Beherino
    Harry Kane
    Danny Ings

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  37. I know they played Sweden, Portugal and Italy but that is some serious talent that Southgate had available.

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