Three players who should feature in Newcastle's long-term future

Newcastle United

Each of Newcastle United's senior squad have come in for criticism of late, but here are three players who should remain at the club on a long-term basis.

 

If reports are to be believed, Steve McClaren's days at St James' Park appeared to be numbered and it would come as no surprise if he were to be removed from his position in the dugout before the club's next fixture away at Leicester City.

 

The displays of the majority of his first-team squad have been disappointing in recent weeks, and given the current mood on Tyneside, some supporters may not care if every player left in the summer.

 

However, in among the under-performers are a few players who can spearhead Newcastle United in the future, whether that comes in English football's top flight or not.

 

1) Jonjo Shelvey

 

He may have suffered defeat in his two games as captain, but that should not take anything away from the fact that Jonjo Shelvey needs to feature in Newcastle's long-term future.

 

It's questionable whether he should be given the skipper's armband because there is a danger that the rest of his game will suffer. The Magpies need Shelvey to dictate play from the middle of the park with his passing ability rather than chasing down the opposition, which he did during the 3-1 setback against Bournemouth last weekend.

 

That could perhaps be put down to his desire to lift the disgruntled home support, who were not pleased with what they witnessed against the Cherries, but there may be a way forward for him as the team's leader if he can find the right balance.

 

Nevertheless, he epitomises the kind of player that usually becomes a fans favourite at St James' Park, and Newcastle need that right now. They need an English player who is going to meet the values that are treasured in the stands - someone with passion and who plays football in the right way.

 

2) Jamaal Lascelles

 

It has been over 18 months since Newcastle first signed Jamaal Lascelles from Nottingham Forest, but the defender has only started three Premier League games for the club. He was seen as one for the future by Alan Pardew, but now is the time for him to become a mainstay in the defence.

 

With Newcastle losing in each of his three league starts, it would be easy for McClaren or a future manager to drop him back down to the bench, but he shouldn't necessarily be held responsible for those setbacks. His best performance of the three came against Stoke City last week when he nullified the threat offered by the Potters' frontmen, but they eventually succumbed to a Xherdan Shaqiri wonder-strike.

 

He was also not accountable for how Newcastle fell behind against Bournemouth, and while he was exposed for the second goal, he was left in a two-on-one situation because of Jack Colback being up-field. He was one of the few players to come out of the game with any credit, and he should feature in Newcastle's future, regardless of whether that is in the Premier League or the Championship.

 

3) Andros Townsend

 

When Andros Townsend was signed from Tottenham Hotspur, both the club and player had plans for the winger to feature heavily in the Premier League, but if the North-East giants are relegated, he needs to take on the role of star player in the second tier.

 

Townsend has suffered a slight fall from grace since helping England to the 2014 World Cup and playing in the second tier would not have featured in his future plans, but he needs a year of playing regular football and he will get that at Newcastle, regardless of what division they are playing in next season.

 

On his day, the 24-year-old can be the difference maker and a player who excites the supporters. On his St James' Park debut against West Bromwich Albion, he was the best player on the pitch. He relished the environment and deservedly received a standing ovation when he was substituted late in the game.

 

It was a reminder of how a player can be taken in by the Magpies faithful and made to be feel welcomed. Like Shelvey, they are the kind of players who should thrive at Newcastle and even though his wages might be an issue should they get relegated, the club's hierarchy need to take the financial hit in order to keep Townsend at the club.

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