Eddie Howe backed to continue Newcastle ‘evolution’ with savage departures of loyal duo

Newcastle players Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and Sean Longstaff Credit: Alamy
Newcastle players Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and Sean Longstaff Credit: Alamy

A pundit thinks Newcastle United will allow two long-standing players to leave next year as part of Eddie Howe’s squad ‘evolution’.

Newcastle are enjoying a brilliant campaign, having reached third place and 30 points before the start of the World Cup. They have won their last last six matches in all competitions and are ahead of illustrious clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea in the Prem.

Admittedly, their winning run could come to an end after the World Cup and teams like Liverpool or Man Utd may well catch them up.

However, the ‘Big Six’ is now facing the real prospect of Newcastle disturbing the party. They have huge spending power thanks to their wealthy owners, as well as a great coach in the form of Howe.

Not only has the Englishman got the new arrivals firing, he has also got the best out of some players in the existing squad. Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Fabian Schar are probably the best examples.

Almiron is definitely worth talking about right now. He has looked like a headless chicken at times in a Newcastle shirt, getting into good positions but having no end product.

But the winger is now in brilliant form, having netted seven goals in his last eight appearances. That was enough to win him the Prem’s Player of the Month award for October.

Sadly, not all of the existing Newcastle players have enjoyed the new era. Club captain Jamaal Lascelles has lost his place in the starting eleven. Howe prefers to use Sven Botman, Schar or Dan Burn at centre-back.

Newcastle skipper could be on his way out

This has limited Lascelles to a peripheral role, as he has only featured four times in the league.

Versatile wide man Matt Ritchie is in a similar position. He played 19 games last season but has only featured in two matches during the current campaign.

Recent reports claim Newcastle will listen to offers for both Lascelles and Ritchie in January. Howe is happy for the pair to go as he does not want to ruin their careers.

Lascelles and Ritchie are both liked by the Newcastle faithful. They have been at St James’ Park since 2015 and 2016 respectively.

But former Hibernian and Dundee player Tam McManus thinks it is time for Newcastle to part ways with the duo, even if such a decision would be viewed as ‘brutal’.

During an interview with Football Insider, McManus said: “It’s a natural evolution, the guys have been there for years but if you want to get better in terms of your depth and quality then these are the decision you have to make.

“It’s brutal, Lascelles is the club captain and I don’t think there will be many fans who have anything to say against Ritchie but this is football.

“They aren’t playing. It’s better for them if they go and play somewhere else every week. We know who is getting a game for Newcastle and these guys can’t get in.

“Newcastle could get rid of two or three players who are there now and bring in some players who can actually challenge for these spaces. I think that is something they will look to do.”

As McManus states, the squad competition has been very harsh on Lascelles and Ritchie. They are both good players in their own right.

But Newcastle want to qualify for Europe in the next few seasons. And signing players such as Botman and Kieran Trippier is the best way to do this.

Lascelles and Ritchie are definitely not on their level, hence the substitute role for the pair.

It would be good to see them reignite their careers at other teams, potentially lower down in the Prem.

And they could just be great signings for those clubs battling relegation. After all, Newcastle are not in desperate need of money and therefore won’t request huge transfer fees for them.

Meanwhile, Newcastle are apparently keeping tabs on a Chelsea star ahead of a blockbuster swoop for him.

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