Howe needs players and Anderson impresses: Five talking points from Newcastle’s 3-2 win at Gateshead
Newcastle recovered from two goals down to win 3-2 at National League Gateshead in their opening pre-season friendly.
Played out amid an electric storm at the Gateshead International Stadium, Eddie Howe was just as thunderous with his players at half-time as they trailed 2-0 after a lacklustre showing.
But the second half was much improved.
Elliot Anderson pull a goal back from close range before he set up Allan Saint-Maximin to make it 2-2. Jay Turner-Cooke came off the bench to score the winner nine minutes from time.
Mail Sport’s North-East football correspondent CRAIG HOPE was there to bring you his five talking points from the game…
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe spoke of his frustration with the lack of new signings this summer
New £52million signing Sando Tonali (right) watched from the stands against non-league side
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY…
Never mind the match itself, it was what Howe said afterwards that was the biggest talking point. Mail Sport revealed in May that the manager and his recruitment team had been told they were working to an initial budget of £75million, with some scope to push that back to £100m.
They have spent £52m of that on Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali, but Howe wants more. Tellingly, he stressed it was a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’, admitting to some frustrations so far.
Here is what he said… ‘At different times there have been frustrations and difficult days. We know the challenges that we face. I’m very pleased to get Sandro in, but I know we need more.
‘I know absolutely where we need to improve. We might need two different XIs within the space of a few days this season, and they both need to be able to compete at the highest level.
‘We’re working within FFP guidelines, which is very difficult for us. We might need to be creative, but we’re trying to look at every avenue we can to make the club stronger. We have a very strict budget that we’re trying to work within. Always with FFP, there are certain things you can be creative on, but we don’t have a huge budget to work with.
‘I’m patient and understand the parameters we’re working in, but I also know the needs we have. For me, it’s not a case of we want to do it, we need to do it. And being a coach, I want them on the grass available now.’
Elliot Anderson caught the eye when switched to centre-forward in the second half
ELL OF A PLAYER…
Much of last summer was spent talking and writing about the emergence of Elliot Anderson as a genuine first-team contender. He went on to appear 27 times, six of them as a starter.
Again here the 20-year-old was the eye-catcher, especially when switched to centre-forward in the second half. He forced his way through the heavenly deluge and Gateshead’s defence to pull one back with a tidy finish on 50 minutes before his trickery laid on the leveller for Allan Saint-Maximin. Anderson’s versatility will be key for Newcastle in what is likely to be a 50-game-plus campaign.
LEWIS IS MILES AHEAD…
Another academy graduate, Lewis Miley, could also be set for more involvement this season. The midfielder, 17, made his debut on the final day at Chelsea in May and came from the bench here to deliver the cross from which Jay Turner-Cooke volleyed the winning goal. Miley finished the game as captain having been joined on the pitch by his older brother, Jamie, late in the second half. His is a tall, elegant operator and is extremely well thought of by Howe and his staff. He is by far the most exciting of the latest crop of youngsters passing through the academy. One to watch, for sure.
Alan Saint-Maximin set up the first goal and scored the second in Saturday’s friendly
SAINT NOT YET AT HIS MAX…
Allan Saint-Maximin started as Newcastle’s central striker amid much speculation over his future. Newcastle would be willing to listen to offers for the forward but, as things stand, nothing concrete has emerged, despite tentative interest from Saudi Arabia.
The 26-year-old played for 63 minutes and looked in need of every one of those. He has a tendency to look less lean when short of match practice, and the spark that makes him one of the Premier League’s most exciting players was absent in the first half.
Saint-Maximin, switched to left wing, did net Newcastle’s equaliser when Anderson squared for him inside the six-yard box and, as Gateshead tired, he stretched them with one or two jinking runs, a reminder of his ability to torment defenders. Howe was asked afterwards if he wanted to keep the Frenchman.
‘Definitely,’ he said. ‘I love Allan, I’ve said that many times. You saw his quality today. When he went to his best position as a left winger I thought he was excellent. He took his goal really well, he’s come back in a good place mentally. I’m very pleased with him.’
NO CHANGE OF SHAPE…
Newcastle will be sticking to the 4-3-3 formation that has taken them into the Champions League. Even though they fielded five left-backs from the start, the same system from last season was deployed. The funny thing is, they’re still in the market for a new left-back, too.
Kieran Trippier stepped up into the three-man midfield and, given his class, still looked like Newcastle’s most accomplished player in the first half. The same could not be said for all of his senior colleagues, however. Sean Longstaff, so impressive last term, was guilty of losing the ball on the edge of the area and allowing Marcus Dinanga to open the scoring on 12 minutes.
He was just as sloppy on two further occasions before the break, Gateshead failing to take advantage, but they did punish the hesitancy of Remi Savage when Stephen Wearne made it 2-0 on 45 minutes.