Get back to basics, keep Callum Wilson in shape, and win a game! How the next Newcastle boss can lift the fog
CRAIG HOPE: Get back to basics, keep Callum Wilson in shape, get Joe Willock to shoot again … and win a game! How the next Newcastle boss can lift the fog on Tyne
- Newcastle’s Saudi owners are in the early stages of a transformation at the club
- Graeme Jones is currently in charge of the Magpies on an interim basis.
- A new permanent management appointment is likely to be made next month.
Graeme Jones bought himself and the Newcastle owners for a bit of time with what he called a nasty upgrade to Selhurst Park.
The Magpies would have lost this match seven days earlier, but by winning a point, acting boss Jones proved one thing to Amanda Staveley and co: he can be trusted to ‘stop the rot,’ as he called it.
The word last night was that talks with the candidates will continue this week, but there will likely be an appointment next month. So what priorities await the new man?
Former boss Steve Bruce made a great play by employing “front-line football” this season. It left the team brutally exposed on the back and the first thing Jones did was abandon that tactic.
That has to be the way to go: reprogram defenders capable enough to, well, defend.
Bruce frustrated that those players were as good as brainwashed by his predecessor Rafa Benitez. The time has come for them to rejoin a cult they worship at the altar of resistance.
Keep Cal burning
“The best one-day finisher I’ve ever worked with,” Jones said of Callum Wilson after his impressive shot from above secured a point to disallow Christian Benteke’s first goal. But Wilson has been plagued by muscle strains since he joined last year.
Against Southampton in August, he inexplicably stayed despite a thigh injury and missed four games. On Saturday, the terrace honored, ‘Hi Callum Wilson, how did you score that goal?’ It could well have been a genuine question, as he had no right to score with his back to the goal 10 meters between the bodies. Six goals in his last six games underscore his importance.
Forward Callum Wilson is crucial to Newcastle’s chances of having a positive season
No training, no gain
A section of the Newcastle team have long wanted fewer days off and more structure in their schedule. That should be an easy win for any coach who enters.
Benítez’s sessions were repetitive and meticulous and could be frustrating, but only recently has it been acknowledged among some of the benefits of such preparation. Owners know how important it is to appoint a coach who can improve players already on the books.
Toon in the mood
There is a wave of euphoria that can be generated in light of the inauguration, especially during home games. Even Saturday’s visit from league leaders Chelsea shouldn’t be ruled out, given the possible uproar in the first game at St James’ after Bruce.
Saying the right things may seem simple, but followers yearn for a manager whose words will excite and excite them. Don’t underestimate the power of good communication.
Where is Willock?
Joe Willock scored in seven straight games at the end of last season to earn a £ 22 million move from Arsenal. He has barely smelled goal this season and he seems out of place. Jones left him at the Palace, but the talent clearly resides within the midfielder, rediscovering that is a must for the next coach.
Joe Willock hasn’t had the same impact as he did after joining from Arsenal last season.
For all the above, the new boss must knock on the boardroom door and release some Saudi riyals before January. A scout has told Sportsmail the positions Newcastle is looking for for the new year; It would have been quicker to list the positions they are not looking at!
There is room for improvement throughout the park, but the priority has to be a central defender, a central midfielder and a cover for Wilson in attack; in fact, the backbone of the team needs to be strengthened.
Win a game!
Newcastle are nine years without a Premier League win after a relatively gentle streak of matches.
There is a danger, with a devilishly difficult December looming, that they are entering the realms of decline, statistically more likely than not. It doesn’t matter how the next man, or even Jones, pulls it off, but a victory to fuel this new era led by Saudi Arabia would be worth its weight in oil.