Newcastle United Update: International Selections And The Last Two Games

The lads have been back from International duty for a couple of games now, and a fair few of the boys were invited to lace up their boots for their respective countries. Notably, Anthony Gordon got his first call-up to the England senior squad, and took part in both games, starting in the one-nil loss to Brazil and coming off the bench in the 2-2 comeback against Belgium.

Bruno Guimaraes of course represented Brazil against his fellow team-mate in the one-nil victory and also got 45 minutes under his belt against Spain at the Bernabeu picking up a yellow card in the process. As for the rest of the lads they made their way to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp set up by first-team coach Eddie Howe.

Howe indicated that Newcastle had been focused on completing a “reset,” with the coaching staff aiming to address both physical and mental issues the team might have been facing as they entered the home stretch of the season. The Magpies have maintained their main goal for the year, which was securing a European football position (seventh place or higher in the final Premier League standings). It is fair to say that the season has been very stop-and-start, especially with all the injuries and many sports betting pundits such as are doubtful they will achieve their aims.

The team had planned to take a week for rest, recuperation, and training in a controlled environment away from the spotlight. Due to injuries and international commitments, only a few players were available for training, which leads to the question if the journey was worth the hassle in the first place. I suppose the lads who couldn’t train may have still been able to get a quick round of golf in or check out a luxury car rental in Dubai.

The effectiveness of the training camp was deemed to be null and void at first. The Toon found themselves 1-3 down at St James’ Park against West Ham United. The comeback that followed in the last thirty minutes of that game though was nothing short of remarkable. It brought back memories of the 4-4 against Arsenal. That spirited fightback against The Hammers would have vindicated Howe’s decision to take the lads out of the United Kingdom, and after gaining a precious three points it’s hard to argue with the man.

Next came yesterday’s game against Everton. The Toffees have been up against it this year with a ten-point deduction plunging them into a relegation battle, and it was disappointing that Newcastle couldn’t hold out for all three points. Winning our home games is essential in this run-in if we want to secure another season of European football, and giving away a penalty so late on in the game was a bit concerning. It could be argued that Everton played well enough to earn a draw, but with better game management we would have taken all three points from that tie.

Next up is a trip down south to face Fulham at Craven Cottage. Fulham have been a strange side this year, and are capable of getting results at home. They battered Tottenham a couple of weeks ago so our lads need to be on the front foot from the get-go. Let’s hope they do us proud.

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