Ex England cricketer and Toon fan Steve Harmison has singled out 5 Newcastle defenders that he believes are good enough to play for just about any team outside the top 4.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Harmison listed skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejuene, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark as having the quality to play for most clubs in the division, praising our depth at centre-back.
Here is what Harmison had to say about those 5 players on Alan Brazil’s breakfast show this morning:
“We have five centre-backs there who are defensively as good as any…they could get into the most teams outside the top-four in the league.”
Whilst positive words towards Newcastle players are always welcome from the media, in all seriousness only Lascelles, Lejuene and Schar probably fit the criteria that Harmison is talking about.
Fernandez has done very well since he came into the side but let’s not forget he has only played 2 games since his return and was only snapped up by us on deadline day last year after Swansea’s relegation.
Ciaran Clark is solid and reliable but was also relegated with Villa in 2016 and way down in the pecking order just a matter of weeks ago.
Despite their defensive woes would Arsenal genuinely swap Sokratis and Mustafi for Clark and Fernandez? Or would Everton do the same with Mina and Keane? It’s hard to imagine even Brighton would swap Dunk and Duffy for the pair.
Harmison has often had bizarre stances on Newcastle in the past, often sticking up for owner Mike Ashley, and even claimed Newcastle fans would never forgive manager Rafa Benitez for leaving the club.
The general point he is trying to make is the idea that Newcastle’s defence is the strongest component of this current team, which would be correct. Our club has been famed over the years for being leaky in defence but that is not something you could say about the side over the past couple of seasons – and long may that continue!