May 12, 2017

Rating every Newcastle United player’s 2016/17 season performance

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Newcastle United will be back in the Premier League next season after a successful campaign that was ended by winning the Championship title. This was only the first step in the Magpies’ revival, but it was one that needed to be completed professionally and they managed to do that.

There was a huge squad rebuild during the summer to prepare for the second tier, which saw the likes of Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden and others join the club. They had one of the best squads in the history of the Championship and they met the pre-season expectation by winning the league.

Here are how their players rated during the domestic season…

Karl Darlow (34 appearances): It was an encouraging campaign from the goalkeeper, who was the number one for the majority of the season. There were some key stops that helped Newcastle earn points, while two penalty saves against former club Nottingham Forest will live long in the memory. 8

Matz Sels (9 appearances): The goalkeeper was dropped after some poor performances at the beginning of the season. He never looked convincing and is unlikely to have a long-term future with the club. 4

DeAndre Yedlin (27 appearances): The American has developed a lot over the course of the season and has become better in possession. He offers an attacking threat as shown by his five assists. Defensively, he was suspect at times, but he is set for a bright future under Rafa Benitez. 7

Vurnon Anita: (27 appearances): After starting the season on the right wing, he moved to become a rotational option at right back. He was ever consistent and never disappointed, but he lacked the attacking flair offered by Yedlin. 6

Jamaal Lascelles (43 appearances): It was a huge confidence booster for the centre back to be given the captaincy at the beginning of the season. He has grown into the role and is a leader on the pitch. His commitment can’t be doubted as he played through the pain barrier to help the side to promotion. On the pitch, he is improving all the time. He was dominant in the air and contributed three key goals during the season. Although he is far from the finished article, this was a good season from the centre back. 7

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Ciaran Clark (34 appearances): This was a great signing by the club as he has emerged as their most complete centre back. He put his Aston Villa nightmare behind him with a classy campaign, showing his ability to dominate at the back and launch attacks with his distribution. Like Lascelles, he contributed three goals during the season. 8

Chancel Mbemba (12 appearances): It was a disappointment that he didn’t feature more, but he finished the season strongly and scored his first goal for the club. 5

Grant Hanley (10 appearances): He offered good back-up to the main defensive options and played well when he was called upon. 5

Paul Dummett (45 appearances): The left back made more league appearances than anybody else in the squad and it is clear that he is one of Rafa Benitez’s most trusted lieutenants. He has improved massively over the course of the season and was consistent in defence, with excellent performances to keep the likes of Anthony Knockaert and Helder Costa at bay. 7

Jonjo Shelvey (42 appearances): This was one of the finest seasons of the centre midfielder’s career and he finished the season with five goals and eight assists. He was crucial to the way that the team played as he provided the creativity from deep and allowed the team to play with a good tempo. Shelvey made the first step as he strives for an England recall, something that isn’t impossible in the near future. 8

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Isaac Hayden (33 appearances): He will go down as a bargain as he is much better than the £2.5 million that the Magpies paid. The midfielder offered a good foil to Jonjo Shelvey and an average of 3.7 ball recoveries per game show his importance to the team. He will be good enough for the Premier League. 8

Jack Colback (29 appearances): The midfielder wasn’t as impressive as many expected him to be this season, as he has been a reliable operator in the Premier League throughout his career. He played his part, especially in matches away from home, but his contributions won’t be remembered in the years to come. 5

Matt Ritchie (42 appearances): The Scottish international was one of the best signings made in Championship history. He has been a consistent threat down the right wing and can be relied on when things become tough. During the season, he contributed 12 goals and seven assists, many of which were crucial in the outcome of matches. Ritchie is a classy operator and set for bigger things over the coming years. 9

Christian Atsu (32 appearances): The on-loan Chelsea winger was used mainly as an impact sub and he was frustrating at times. However, he played his part with five goals and three assists. He ended the season superbly and may have done enough to earn a contract. 6

Mo Diame (37 appearances): The Senegalese midfielder was one of the more underwhelming players this season as he didn’t live up to expectations after signing. There were glimpses of his ability in certain matches, but he didn’t do enough in the number ten role. Three goals and three assists isn’t good enough for a player in his position. He has work to do to convince people he has a future on Tyneside. 5

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Ayoze Perez (36 appearances): It was a patchy campaign for the Spaniard as he was frustrating at times and struggled with the physicality of the league. However, a strong finish showed that he has a part to play in the future. He finished with nine goals and six assists. 7

Yoan Gouffran (39 appearances): It was a surprise that the Frenchman played as big a role as he did this season after being frozen out by previous managers. Benitez gave him a chance and he played his part in the promotion campaign. He lacked the attacking threat of Ritchie, but his hard-working performances were important in providing balance, while five goals is a good return. 6

Dwight Gayle (32 appearances): He scored an incredible 23 goals, with one coming every 93.3 minutes. Only injuries prevented the striker from recording a record-breaking season. The former Palace man was crucial to the team and scored a bulk of the goals that fired the Magpies back to the top flight. He is too good for this level and deserves another crack at the Premier League. 9

Aleksandar Mitrovic (25 appearances): The Serbian will be disappointed by his performance this season as he was never fully trusted by Benitez and scored only four times in the league. 4

Daryl Murphy (15 appearances): He wasn’t first choice, but he never disappointed when he was called upon and scored five goals. The Irishman played a key role in the away wins over Huddersfield Town and Brighton. 7

Players with five or fewer appearances who didn’t play enough to be rated: Jesus Gamez, Achraf Lazaar, Rolando Aarons, Sammy Ameobi, Rob Elliot, Adam Armstrong, Daryl Janmaat, Jamie Sterry, Cheick Tiote, Massadio Haidara.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Newcastle United

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Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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