NUFC Blog’s 2019/20 awards – Player of the season, unsung hero, most improved, best goal & more

Well, that’s it folks. The 2019/20 season is finally over.

It’s not been easy on the eye and it’s ended just as flatly as it began in that home defeat to Arsenal way back in August last year, however there’s been the odd high along the way and a few standout performers who’ve our latest survival season that bit more bearable!

We’re already looking ahead to the next season with Newcastle facing a battle to finish in the top 10, and you can get a Football Index referral code to bet on the upcoming season.

But for now, here are a few end of season awards, from player of the year, to unsung hero, most improved, best goal and more:

Player of the season:

  1. Martin Dubravka
  2. Allan Saint-Maximin

The Slovakian has been absolutely outstanding, keeping us in several games, making more saves than any other Premier League and being a constant calming influence at the back. He may have made the odd mistake, but so many of our narrow early season wins (or draws!) were only made possible from him keeping us in the game. I think it’s safe to say we’d be in the bottom three without him.

An honourable mention must also go to Allan Saint-Maximin, who would be just as worthy of the award. A breath of fresh air on and off the pitch, a player we’ve barely ever won without and an explosive attacker who’s regularly been by far our biggest threat. Like Dubravka, I dread to think where we’d be without him!

Young player of the season:

  1. Allan Saint-Maximin
  2. Matty Longstaff
  3. Tom Allan

It has to be ASM. His numbers in terms of goals and assists are far from spectacular, but his influence on the team has been huge, with us winning more, losing less, scoring more and conceding less when he starts.

Matty Longstaff comes in a close second after a brilliant breakthrough year, although that may mean little if he leaves for a few thousand, while Tom Allan also deserves a mention after bagging an assist on his senior debut vs Rochdale following an impressive campaign at U-23 level saw him get into double figures.

Unsung hero:

  1. Isaac Hayden
  2. Ciaran Clark / Federico Fernandez
  3. Jonjo Shelvey

Hayden may not always get the plaudits he deserves, but perhaps the best tribute we can pay to him is that we don’t half miss him when he’s not there. Fully committed, consistent and someone whose….

Clark started the season our SIXTH choice centre-back, yet he’s quickly become arguably Steve Bruce’s most reliable option this season when he was fit, putting his body on the line at one end and scoring a few key goals at the other end. He missed the last few months of the season, but he never let us down when he played! Like him, fellow centre-back Fernandez is another who isn’t flashy but barely puts a foot wrong.

Jonjo Shelvey also deserves praise for adding a few goals to his game and enjoying the slight bit more freedom he’s been given under Bruce, with his six strikes seeing him end our top scorer in the league.

Most improved player:

  1. Miguel Almiron
  2. Javier Manquillo
  3. Matty Longstaff

Matty may be the obvious player given he’s gone from U-23 prospect to securing a place in Bruce’s Premier League squad, but I feel it has to go to Miguel Almiron, with the Paraguayan ending the season as our top scorer in all competitions (8) after adding goals to his game following a difficult start to the season.

As for Javier Manquillo, the Spaniard is arguably our best right-back as things stand and turned things around brilliantly to earn himself a new contract at the club. Matty Longstaff also deserves praise for going from U-23 talent to a member of Bruce’s senior squad and rarely looking out of his depth when he’s been handed a chance.

Disappointment of the season:

  1. Joelinton
  2. Andy Carroll
  3. Sean Longstaff

It has to be Joelinton. He was never prolific in Germany and signed as a young prospect, not a proven scorer, but we all expected much more from our £40m man. Two goals and several unconvincing displays have left so many of us scratching our head – even if he hasn’t always been used right.

Elsewhere, Andy Carroll has not only struggled to stay fit but hasn’t made enough of an impact when he’s featured, failing to score all season on his second stint at SJP.

Then to Sean Longstaff. He’s had to odd good game when played in a more advanced role in 2020, however he has generally struggled to get anywhere near that form that saw him linked with a big money move to Man Utd this time last year!

Moment of the season:

https://twitter.com/cwrsmith2/status/1180980896775753728
  1. Matty Longstaff’s debut goal vs Man Utd
  2. Miguel Almiron breaking his duck at the Gallowgate
  3. Saint-Maximin’s winner at Oxford

The ovation Carroll received on his ‘second debut’ was also a spine tingling moment, but these are the three top moments for me. Three goals that sparked incredible scenes and a rare moment of unrivalled joy in a season that generally lacked emotion and entertainment value.

Goal of the season:

  1. Saint-Maximin’s FA Cup winner at Oxford
  2. Jetro Willems’ thunderbolt at Anfield
  3. Matty Longstaff’s debut goal vs Man Utd

Matty’s goal was magical and Willems’ strike an absolute stunner to give us a shock leat at Liverpool, but ASM’s corker in the cup had everything. An individual bit of brilliance that came just when we needed it in a cup tie that was threatening to get away from us. The scenes that followed in the away end were pretty special too!

Best team performances of the season:

  1. Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle
  2. Newcastle 2-2 Man City
  3. West Ham 2-3 / West Brom 2-3 / Bournemouth 1-4

My winner may surprise a few, but I thought we were outstanding in every area of the pitch that day, executing Bruce’s clear game plan to perfection.

The 2-2 draw against Man City was another superb display, while 3-2 wins at West Ham and West Brom (FA Cup) along with our recent 4-1 victory at Bournemouth were the only three occasions we’ve played with swagger and genuinely outplayed the opposition (the scoreline flatters the hosts massively in both!).

Worst team performances of the season:

  1. Norwich 3-1 Newcastle
  2. Leicester 5-0 Newcastle
  3. Newcastle 0-0 Oxford

Our first away game of the season against newly promoted Norwich was a low point. We got absolutely battered without putting up a fight, looking all at sea defensively, anonymous in midfield and like a team of strangers in attack, with Almiron and Joelinton worryingly isolated.

The collapse at Leicester was worrying, as was the recent surrender at Man City, while the 0-0 draw at home to Oxford was tough to watch considering the level of opposition and occasion.

Signing of the season:

  1. Allan Saint-Maximin
  2. Jetro Willems
  3. ???

ASM is a clear winner here, with his £16m arrival from Nice proving to be one of the signings of the summer across all Premier League clubs.

A big shoutout must also go to Jetro Willems, who had been impressive at both ends of the pitch before injury cut his loan deal short, scoring some stunning goals and defending better than most expected too.

Worst signing of the season:

  1. Joelinton
  2. Krafth
  3. Bentaleb

At £40m, Joelinton’s return of 3 goals and 4 assists in all competitions hasn’t been nearly enough, while Krafth has proved to be a bizarre signing given he’s spent most of the season being our third choice option in a area where we lack real quality in the first place.

Bentaleb would also make the ‘top three’, having shown next to nothing since arriving – despite many having high hopes for the former Spurs talent.

I can’t say Danny Rose has impressed me either, looking unfit at times and a shadow of the player who was starring for Spurs not so long ago, but at least he’s done a job since Willems’ injury.

Feel free to give us your answers to all the above in the comments section below!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

340 thoughts on “NUFC Blog’s 2019/20 awards – Player of the season, unsung hero, most improved, best goal & more

  1. Sharpy17:
    I don’t buy these Smalling links either.We are well equipped with CBs as it stands anyway – but why would we shell out the fee Man Utd would expect, let alone the wages Smalling would expect.Load of sh!te imo.

    Sharpy Hope you’re right. The last position we need to fill is centre half.

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  2. kimtoon:
    Ice, cheers for link.
    Well that’s all rather odd, sounds like a PR exercise to me.

    Kim – I agree but what confuses me is whilst Chopra is a little limelight grabber & will be happy to be in the headlines regardless whether it’s true or not – I think Big Al would distance himself from it almost immediately if it were untrue.

    He’s someone who is on social media, and if it were BS, I think he’d have put something out already.

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  3. Groucho: Sharpy Hope you’re right. The last position we need to fill is centre half.

    Groucho – even if we were looking for a CB – I don’t see it being Smalling. Man Utd would want more than we’d be willing to pay, and he’d want paying more than we’d be ready to pay too.

    But I like our CBs and don’t see us changing them this window. I think we all know LB, CF and MF are the areas we need to prioritise (and RW for me).

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  4. Sharpy, according to SP Keith the bid is true, he’s seen the paperwork but the initial bid is only £280m which is obviously much less than Ashley wants.
    Can’t see it going very far, that’s like me looking at the bungalow i presently covet that is £30k over my budget and offering £30k less than they want 🙄
    Not gonna happen is it.

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  5. Didn’t Smalling say over the weekend he didn’t wanna come to us?
    That’s ok lad the feelings mutual .

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  6. What is going on? Does anybody really think that Chopra is helping broker this new deal or that Shearer has been offered the Managers job?

    And Ashley needs to get his head examined if the thinks NUFC are worth more than 280 million in this new normal. Didnt the PIF withdrawal say something about valuation? I still dont know what went on there, they were probably just sick of the bad publicity and saw no end to it. If the deal had gone through at least there would be positivity in the fan base and new signings to fill the column inches.

    So where are we even at? It is no way business as usual because To just cannot see Ashley releasing funds when everything is up in the air. We are going down if we do not get rid of some of the dead wood and a few replacements in. You cant tell me that morale wont be affected if you have Muto and Atsu etc moping about the place because they have no chance of a game.

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  7. The only thing that gives me any hope on a compromise valuation is football economics are stupid and you can lose 40 mil on Joelinton or 80 mil on Kepa so what is 30 or 40 million on the value of NUFC between friends 🙂

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  8. You look at Barca as well and they have spunked 400 million on players that cannot play with Messi – Coutinho, Griezzman and Dembele. So, this might give the Fat Man a bit of leverage, knowing that football finances are not like any other type of business. I think in the current climate we are worth 250 mil tops so Fatty should jump at anything above this. We will be worth 125 million if we get relegated so there is a lot of risk here to all parties. Delay this another month and who are our transfers going to be?

    On a related issue, what are Barca thinking with Koeman? Is he really the Manager you want to revamp the team? How did that work out at Everton?

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  9. And, at first glance of that photo of the new takeover PR seekers I thought it was Ivanka Trump. My heart sank with a feeling that the Orange Man Baby might be involved with the running of my club.

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  10. He was selling to PIF for £300m then £305m after he upped the price, confirmed by Amanda but they were happy to pay it.
    Now he has the price set at £350m !!!
    Doesn’t want to sell imo, even messed pif about for sake of £5m

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  11. I doubt there is anything sinister in any of these photos of this new group that are on twitter and blogs but they all look really weird. Maybe “Eva” does look like a doll or maybe it is photoshop. They are all overly staged and the latest with one of the Lohs in a dark business suit wearing loafers with no socks is very strange. They should sack their photographer because all of their pictures look so weird and that is not really a good thing if you are trying to say you are legitimate “players”. They look like Wannabes which is not good for Investment Bankers.

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  12. With training starting we see our squad and it is totally unbalanced. We are currently relying on Gayle staying fit and Joelinton coming good. What is the likelihood of either? Then there is St Max. The league have seen him now and will put 3 players on him. That already started at the tail end of last season. He is good, but is he that good with no other threat? You have seen that good teams can even shut down the great Lionel Messi when he has no support. Not just Bayern, there have been other instances.

    St Max looks best when he has options and doesnt HAVE TO take on the entire opposition team. Will he have those options? I think it is a fair bet Bruce will run him into the ground and we have already seen he is picks up muscle injuries which tend to happen with overwork.

    I am getting even more worried now. Last year some idiot ex-Liverpool player said we had the worst squad in the league, worse than Norwich. I never thought that was true but we might be close to that this year if a few of the other clubs just invest a little bit and we dont shift and replace the dead wood.

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  13. The season predictions will be coming out soon. What’s the betting that the same journos, ex-players and pundits who said Bruce had done a great job will have us relegated.

    You know, this guy they all love and had complete faith in will again be viewed as a relegation waiting to happen. Just wait, we will be on most relegation lists.

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  14. Most on here, including me, are predicting relegation. The difference is that none of us had said Bruce was doing a great job. We watched enough to know it was more down to luck, St Max and Dubravka than planning.

    I have been predicting relegation this year since last Christmas. I am not even sure a buy-out will change that now as they wont have the time to get players in and Bruce out.

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  15. OK, did anybody put their name to a report linking Chris Woods to NUFC? I would think he is not for sale, and him, Pope and Dyche are all there is at that club keeping them from relegation. The TV money in the PL is 120 million and they would risk that for 13 mil. It just doesnt make sense even if transfer fees are reduced this year. He cost them 15M FFS and has 3 years left on a deal he signed last November.

    Once these rumours get started they gain a life of their own.

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  16. I never got the love fest for Rafa. He could do know wrong especially when it came to the writings of Ed Harrison. Rafa is still brought up everyday on that blog and there are articles every week about him in The Mag. I thought he did OK for us and that is about it. A lot of the football was awful and he had enough time to keep us up when we were relegated. His CV is obviously so much better than Bruce but often the performances were just as bad – just didnt get as many scoreline hidings. I also think he broke a few records for points and losses that had stood for years, but nobody seemed to care.

    Anyway, him being bottom of the Chinese League might shut some people up about him. I moved on long ago but thought I would mention him just because he is proving not to be God, like so many at NUFC would have us all believe.

    I am sure Rafa will recover and get his Chinese team respectability but paying someone 12 million after tax you would expect to win the League.

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  17. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, according to SP Keith the bid is true, he’s seen the paperwork but the initial bid is only £280m which is obviously much less than Ashley wants.
    Can’t see it going very far, that’s like me looking at the bungalow i presently covet that is £30k over my budget and offering £30k less than they want
    Not gonna happen is it.

    Kim – Great, that’s all we need. Another bunch getting headlines from a half ar$ed takeover attempt.

    I’m still surprised Al hasn’t been on saying I don’t know this lot, nowt to do with me – especially as his name is being mentioned so definitely with it.

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  18. Sharpy, Al has now said he’s got nowt to do with it.

    What is going on with these guys, who uses Chops to front a deal, brag that they have 10,000 private jets, want to sign CR7 and use Shearers name.
    Bunch of publicity seeking liars so far as i can tell.
    SSN should give no credence to this claptrap.
    Who is behind this stunt is what i’d like to know.

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  19. Now there’s the story of this Eva woman going to one of Obama’s charity events where she gave him a $27,000 bracelet for his wife. Even that is a publicity stunt because she is a jeweller!!! What was the true worth anyway? It was probably really worth about 10k because the markup is ridiculous on jewelry and she was doing the valuation.

    They seem all show. Simon Bird in The Mirror wrote an article today that is a pure p!ss take of this bid. They will have to show me a lot more than they have to be taken seriously. So far it has been an amateurish farce. Chopra, really guys? Ronaldo?

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  20. These charity events with ex-presidents are all networking and show anyway. Anybody can get in as long as they pay their money and pass the screening.

    The ex-Presidents set up these foundations that have lofty goals but they dont really care where the money comes from. Netflix had that documentary on the sex offender who killed himself in Prison, Jeffrey Epstein. They had pictures of guests on his private get going to his private island and one was Bill Clinton. This Island was renowned for sex parties and some of the girls were underage because that was what Epstein liked and went to prison for. No allegations were made that Clinton knew about this but it shows you that if you have money you can get your picture taken with Presidents.

    I wouldnt read too much into these new publicity seekers having their picture taken with Obama. Looks good on their website or brochure but he is not their pal.

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  21. Epstein is the one that Prince Andrew got in trouble about if anyone doesnt know. His companion (some say pimp) Robert Maxwell’s daughter is now in Jail in New York. It should be interesting because they knew a lot of society people and I bet she does a deal. Watch out Andrew, I hope she doesn’t have dirt on you.

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  22. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, Al has now said he’s got nowt to do with it.

    What is going on with these guys, who uses Chops to front a deal, brag that they have 10,000 private jets,want to sign CR7 and use Shearers name.
    Bunch of publicity seeking liars so far as i can tell.
    SSN should give no credence to this claptrap.
    Who is behind this stunt is what i’d like to know.

    Kim – there we go 👍🏻.

    This takeover circus needs to be put to bed now!! – we are giving the club excuses of ‘distractions’ when it comes to the start of the season, and why business hasn’t been done.

    We have the same owner, same manager and same group of players (bar the loanees) – Bruce knows what positions need strengthening – he knows which players he doesn’t want and can be moved on (hell we all do!!). It’s time to focus on reality, and fans and journalists look to put pressure on those who are still in charge to get deals done and stop dragging their heels like they do every damn window.

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  23. georgio:
    Sharpy – Ashley doesn’t feel pressure from anybody especially from those who work for him.

    Georgio – I don’t think Ashley has anything to do with the buying and selling of players mate. He will set the budget (or lack of) and criteria and then say get on with it and don’t bother me.

    I mean the likes of Nickson, Charnley and Bruce.

    Plenty of loan rumours getting thrown about now – I expect they will be far more accurate than the buying of players.

    We probably need 4-5 players in – I expect we will still be 2 light come the end of the window.

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  24. The question not really being asked is what would happen if these chancers take over – would we want them? From what I have read they are a couple of rich kids who set up a Private Equity firm using their contacts. Figures quoted of 12 billion are not their net worth but the revenue of their company. That is a totally different scenario than even Ashley who we know roughly what cash/investments he has. We dont know what these people have on their private balance sheet as Private Equity get outside investors and take a portion of the profits. The appeal to investors is outsize returns which is what I would expect they want from NUFC. They have seen the Glazers and FSG quadruple the value of their investments in Man U and Liverpool. They probably think they could do the same but these clubs made their own money and didnt need significant outside investment. This is not the case with NUFC. We get most of our money from TV which puts us in the same boat as the bottom 12 of the PL. To break away from that pack would require new owners putting up their own money. Do these people have money they would risk. I doubt it.

    The only thing I can say that might be in favour of this not being a sham is that it would significantly raise the profile of these people and may give them a door opener to attract investors for their other businesses.

    If their plan is to buy NUFC and fatten it up to sell on at a big profit it is a risky business model because just as many have failed with this approach as have succeeded. If you fail in this approach you usually drop down the leagues or even go into administration – Leeds, Pompey and many others. They dont seem to know much about football and even less about fashion 🙂 Smacks of the chicken people (Venkys) at Bolton. Or even Ashley at NUFC who knew nothing about football but who thought he could apply his tatshop business model to football and soon found out it doesnt work that way. He has been trying to sell us since the first relegation or even before that.

    Even if these people have the money, do we really want them as owners?

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  25. We also have the ultimate guide to when Chancers buy a football club down the road at Sunderland. If this BN group dont have real money to put in if things go t!ts up we can see what might happen. It was played out in real time on Sunderland til I Die and has only got worse since that series was filmed.

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  26. Just listened to the Pod on the Tyne Podcast and they discussed an article from The Athletic where they broke down what happened with the Saudi takeover. It is worth a listen and they had a journalist who is much more knowledgeable than me explain it in terms of the O and D test which he seemed to be very conversant with. It was all about the piracy issue he said. I dont know if that means anything now but I did see the Saudis had made more changes on this today. Maybe this is not the end of all of this but there is no way anything will get done before the transfer window closes in October.

    He also didnt bring up human rights as a factor.

    This journalist cowrote the article with Little Chrissy Waugh who I have noticed has actually written some good stuff for The Athletic. You could count on one hand the number of good articles he did for The Chronic. Obviously they held him back. Remember he was assigned the “5 things we learned” bit at The Chronic. That seemed to be his main job and to interview Ryder and Douglas on The Chronic podcast.

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  27. What I don’t understand is why have we not signed Hendricks yet?!.

    Also, why have we not gone all out and snapped Ryan Fraser up either.

    I know they are free transfers – but they are the easy signings to get done quickly. We need a CMF and we definitely need a winger – Fraser could pretty much go straight in at RW – but he would certainly be an upgrade on Atsu and Murphy – so there is defo space in the squad for him.

    Get those ones done.

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  28. Of the forwards that we have been linked with, Ollie Watkins is the one I prefer most. I know he’s young and has no PL experience – but I’ve watched Brentford a few times and I think he would link up really with with ASM.
    Callum Wilson is a good forward, but he is injury prone – and we have enough of them in Gayle and Carroll as it is.

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  29. £20m for Wilson sounds OK til you realise he’ll only get a few more that Gayle would. I’d give him a miss and King.

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  30. So, people are finally realising that this budget of 35 million was a made up figure. I cannot trace it to anyone in the club saying it or even a specific journalist. Someone help me out if someone said it and I missed it.

    With Covid-19 hitting gates and concessions and the TV wanting a bit of their money back we probably made a profit of 10-15 million this year. With all of the uncertainty of Covid even now I think Ashley will want to keep that in the bank. This year we will probably make the same as we will not return to normal and playing our boring brand of football will not be on TV much. Each televised game generates about an extra 1 mil.

    So, where does the money for players come from? Sales, but we have no one to sell that will get us more than coppers.

    Finally, the journos are waking up to the fact there is no money. I reckon if we can get a good striker at a decent price then Fatty might go up to about 15 million because he MIGHT see that as protecting his investment more than keeping a buffer in the bank. If we could get Chris Woods for that I would jump all over it.

    Remember if we get loans of anybody decent there will be a loan fee so that will be factored in. I reckon we could easily see Jacob Murphy returning depending on what loans are available for a right winger.

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  31. According to The Chronic a super-computer has us finishing 17th this year. My head says that that might be a bit generous but as it stands there are quite a few teams that are as crap as us. They will need to spend and I dont see many, if any, doing so.

    I will go with my trusted method of alphabetical order which sees us 14th. It worked the past 2 years 🙂

    Our only hope if that other teams are just as bad and the following have as bad squads: Villa, Palace, WBrom, Fulham, Burnley, Sheffield, Brighton. We are in for a scrap. At least one of the promoted teams will go down and it is a toss up between the rest who joins them.

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  32. Matty Longstaff would be mad to leave NUFC in search of playing time. He has only 3 players ahead of him – Shelvey, Hayden and Hendrick – and there will be injuries.

    His brother is probably on par and has shown glimpses of form but many more games where he looked slow and lost (injuries?). He is a risk at the moment and Matty could move ahead of him.

    Finally, Schar as a midfielder was a failure so I dont think that will be repeated.

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  33. Who is that rather rotund fellow in the lime green pants seen getting on the NUFC bus in Olly’s latest piece? Competition for Joelinton?

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