Hold on tight because it’s not often you’ll be reading an article like this; Newcastle are actually spoilt for choice in one position and we need to work out who would be the best (or perhaps least worst) candidate to defend the left flank.
Since he signed for Newcastle almost three years ago, Santon has been described as ‘one for the future’, but there comes a point when that description loses it’s credibility. Santon had been a regular in the Newcastle back line up until this season, where he lost his place to academy product Paul Dummett because of both poor form and consistent niggling injuries.
His lack of defensive qualities (most notably positioning and awareness) are evident, but he was always preferred because of his strength in attack; however even this has come under scrutiny recently with many describing his ventures forward as ‘predictable’.
If Santon can become one for the present, he would without a doubt be their highest quality left-back, but if things stay the same he doesn’t deserve to be in the line-up.
Everyone loves a local product, don’t they? In a team full of foreign internationals, one would feel that Dummett gets a sub-conscious bias towards him because of his nationality and his background as an academy product. He has shown signs of promise and quality, but for the most part he has been distinctly ordinary.
Lacking any talent in abundance, Dummett simply isn’t good enough yet to be a starting full back for a top ten club; all be it my opinion may, and most likely will, change in future years, but for the upcoming season I will be remaining stubborn.
Colback was signed very recently by Newcastle on a free transfer from local rivals Sunderland, and can play as either a central midfielder or a full back. Due to the abundance of left backs already at Newcastle, I don’t think one would be wrong to assume he was signed with the intention of being used in midfield. However, in an injury crisis, I’m confident he would be an able deputy at left back.
Haidara hasn’t played many games in a Newcastle shirt, he was signed in the shopping spree of January 2013 and never managed to succeed Santon as the starting left back; last season would have been his opportunity had it not been for the rise of Dummett. However I really do feel he could be the best left-back Newcastle have; he has a good combination of pace, defensive awareness and attacking prowess.
In the few games he did play this year, he looked comfortable and arrogant on the ball, and had seemed to iron out the defensive issues that had lost him his place at the back end of the 2012/13 season. I’m calling it now, if he’s given a proper chance to stake his claim, this upcoming year will be the year of the Haidara.
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