The Chronicle have revealed that Rafa Benitez is planning on making some big changes at the club this summer, with on overhaul of the U-23’s set to be one of the focuses – with the likes of Curtis Good, Tom Heardman, Paul Woolston and Kyle Cameron all likely to be moved on.
It may be ruthless, but some of this seem long overdue. The likes of Curtis Good and Massaido Haidara have been plagued by injuries so haven’t had the best of luck, but there development at the club in recent years has been stagnant to put it politely.
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s story, which suggests Rafa has one eye on the future with NUFC despite his focus on our current relegation:
“Newcastle United chiefs are currently preparing to make squad changes for next season as the club starts to look to the future.
“Rafa Benitez is solely concentrating on maintaining the club’s Premier League status but plans are in place behind the scenes to improve the Toon manager’s back-up options going forward.”
Looking at the players mentioned here, Ivan Toney is someone whose shown glimpses at times during recent loan spells in League One, but Rafa clearly feels the striker hasn’t shown enough to suggest he’s going to be able to cut it in the top flight.
Heardman’s another one but to a lesser extent. He’s been dubbed ‘the new Andy Carroll’ in some dominant U-23 display, however he’s failed to make any sort of impact during lower league loans away from Newcastle.
There’ll be plenty more senior names to add to the list too. I can’t see Colback, Gamez, Saivet or Sterry surviving beyond this summer either (and there’ll be more).
Several elements of our first team and U-23 squads just aren’t good enough and it’s good to hear that Rafa will be addressing this in the summer.