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Steven Taylor injury highlights frailties of Newcastle United defence

By Lee Ryder on Jan 26, 10 12:28 PM

Steven Taylor's injury agony seems like it was always going to be an accident that was waiting to happen for Newcastle United.

If it's been said once it's been said a million times this season but United's paper thin squad has always looked vulnerable in key areas and the knee problems sustained by Taylor has simply highlighted it.

Taylor has his critics but this season he has been a colossus for the black and whites and he was certainly missed at West Brom when United leaked four goals for the first time in ages (the last time was actually on a day when five were conceded against Liverpool in 2008).

Manager Chris Hughton has always remained calm(ish) when it comes to talk about the size of his squad.

The reason why is because on closer inspection he has a lot of central midfielder who can also play out wide and his options in terms of wing men are also pretty decent.

With four strikers and the option of playing Kevin Nolan off the shoulder of one of them too, he can also stay pretty calm.

But when it comes to centre-backs it's a different story.

Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are the only experienced centre-halves at the club.

Tamas Kadar is still learning his way in football and Hughton knows he isn't ready to play every week.

And although youngsters like Ben Tozer and Callum Morris would love a sniff of first team action, Hughton sees it as too much of a gamble to play them now while over at the Academy Matthew Grieve and Jeff Henderson, also promising young players are clearly too raw for the first team stage.

Should United win promotion to the Premier League the defence is the first place they will have to look in order to bolster their squad.

Losing Sebastian Bassong and Habib Beye in the summer were hammer blows and they haven't been replaced.

Which has been typified by the panic surrounding the back four ahead of the game with Palace.

Thankfully, it's happened within the transfer window.

2 Comments

Tad Caster said:

You know, he has some awful moments - running up field and losing the ball, turning his back on attacking players - but by and large (regrettable as they may be) that's all they are: moments. He's been one of our best players this season and unlike others playing well at the moment (Jonas, for example), he's also been one of our most consistent. Certainly our best British player by a mile.

Yarmouth Toon said:

Lee,
Please can you confirm if Williams has been signed or not?

I saw on Sky yesterday we had signed him and you refer to him as signed on you Blog about Routledge ( which I got by the way and think the critisism was unjust!)

However there is no official statement from the club and no press release, Please can you clear this up for me?

Many Thanks

Yarmouth Toon.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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