Newcastle United has had a lot of hits and misses in the transfer market world. Some fans blame our lack of tried and trusted locally developed players for our current and recent relegation fights, however some of out most reliable and productive players down the years have been foreigners. So what looks better on paper?
Below you will find two teams with one thing in common; They are comprised of current or ex-Newcastle United players. One is formed with British and Irish players and the other is a collection of players from across the rest of the Globe. For these teams I have set two selection criteria;
1) Any selected player has to have been a full international at some point during their career.
2 Any selected player has to have appeared for Newcastle United in the last 30 years. (1986 onward).
The team selections are entirely subjective and based on contribution to NUFC, at what stage in their career they played for the Magpies and just personal preference. For example Patrick Kluivert does not make the line up despite being a huge global star – because he played for us so late in his career. The reason for the 30-year rule is because it was so rare for teams to buy foreigners before then.
So for the United Kingdom and Rest of the World I’ve gone for 4-3-3;
First team:Shay Given (GK), Warren Barton (RB), Jonathan Woodgate (CB), Steve Howey (CB), Barry Venison (LB), David Batty (DM), Gary Speed (CM), Paul Gascoigne (AM), Peter Beardsley (STR), Alan Shearer (STR), Craig Bellamy (STR).
Subs: Martin Thomas (GK), Stephen Carr (RB), Aaron Hughes (CB), Rob Lee (CM), David McCreary (MF), Keith Gillespie (RW), Les Ferdinand(STR).
Honorable mentions to John Anderson, Andy O’Brien, Liam O’Brien, Michael Owen, Duncan Ferguson (a favourite of mine), Sol Campbell, Kieron Dyer, Jermaine Jenas.
It was a close call between Hughes and Howey for me. Howey was a great servant to the club but not really an established international. Hughes was versatile and underrated in my opinion but overall Howey contributed more to us. Rob Lee just fell short because with that attacking line-up the midfield needed a general – and there were few better than David Batty. Up front Sir Les lost out to Bellamy because I genuinely believe Bellamy was the better player in his prime and Ferdinand contribute more to Spurs than us.
The Rest of the World has a 4-4-2 formation;
First Team: Pavel Srnicek (GK, Cze), Jonas Gutierrez (LB, Arg), Nikos Dabizas (CB, Gre), Phillipe Albert (CB, Bel), Habib Beye (RB, Sen), Laurent Robert (LW, Fra), Hatem Ben Arfa (AM, Fra), Johan Cabaye (CM, Fra), Nolberto Solano (RW, Per), Loic Remy (STR, Fra), Faustino Asprilla (STR, Col).
Subs: Tim Krul (GK), Fabricio Coloccini (CB), Mathieu Debuchy (RB), David Ginola (LW), Cheick Tiote (CM), Georgino Wijnaldum (AM), Obafemi Martins (STR).
Honorable mentions to: Shaka Hislop (I know he was raised locally), Bjorn Kristensen, Charles Nzogbia, Temuri Ketsbaia, Hugo Viana, Luis Saha, Patrick Kluivert, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Dietmar Hamann.
Some controversial choices you might argue, but Gutierrez could play at left back and down the years we have had very slim pickings in terms of international talent in that position. Olivier Bernard was a personal favorite of mine, but he never won a cap for his Country. Dabizas was underrated and reliable and whilst Coloccini has occasionally oozed class, I believe overall the Greek was the better contributor to our cause. Colo might just be the worst Captain the club has ever had.
Beye was similar to Debuchy in that he could get forward but he pips the Frenchman because he did not treat us as a stepping stone. I honestly don’t think there was a lot of difference between the two in their prime. Robert beats Ginola due to his contribution. He played a lot more and scored a lot more for us. Again, Ginola was more a Spurs contributor than ours. Hamann was a better player than Tiote, but did not feature for us for long. We have not had a wealth of foreign talent in the middle of the park unfortunately. The same can be said up front. Occasional flashes but no long term, stable contributors. Martins shades Cisse to the bench. They both chipped in for us but Martins had excellent celebrations!
No doubt I have forgotten some very good players but hey ho.