July 2011 Archives
There's a long road behind, but finally after almost 12 months on the sidelines, Dan Gosling is starting to come good for Newcastle United.
In a summer that has contained it's fair share of highs and lows, the midfield battler is starting to show signs that he could well be a key player in the crucial season ahead.
Gosling's box to box capabilities were there for all to see in the US for the Devon lad, and at just 21 it is clear that Newcastle have got a future England player on their hands.
Jose Enrique may well have his opinions on just where Newcastle United are at right now but there has been a mixed reaction to the Spaniard's outburst here in Columbus.
His tweet came just after Newcastle had landed in Columbus and boarded the bus to their Ohio base.
But did it really come as any great surprise?
For a start, Enrique has been unsettled since January when talk of a new contract first came out into the open.
Newcastle United have had their fair share of plastic pitches down the years.
But tonight against Orlando will get another impromptu chance to see the Mags play on an artificial surface in a game that will spark memories of football of yesteryear.
Basically, Orlando had agreed to provide United with a grass surface and paid thousands of dollars to roll out temporary turf.
But after inspection, it was agreed by all parties to rip it up and go back to Plan A - which is a plastic pitch that goes by the name of Field Turf.
The dust has settled since last night, Newcastle United have left Kansas, Hatem Ben Arfa has left America and the band of media men and Toon fans in the US have now set off for Orlando.
The Ben Arfa situation, thankfully, does not seem as bad as first feared but there were a few moments when it looked pretty grim.
However, like with any player who suffers such a horror injury, Newcastle have to be careful.
He wasn't rushed or risked last season, so why start now?
There is no point in putting Newcastle's star man in any danger of missing the real stuff.
When Steve Howey laid into Newcastle United about their trip to the United States the one time Toon striker could not have been further off target.
Howey is fully entitled to his opinion as a player that has appeared in Major League Soccer for the New England Revs and during that time he will have experienced the cut and thrust of jetting around America.
Yet, while United's squad of 21 players have certainly endured the heat in the States so far with the thermometer almost at breaking point on 100F at times, being here has certainly handed Toon stars something to think about and it has been mainly positive.
Newcastle United's second pre-season game with Sporting Kansas City may well be classed as a "friendly" for the Magpies tomorrow night but for their American opponents it comes slap bang in the middle of their "regular season".
Major League Soccer has came on leaps and bounds since it entered the football world back in 1996.
Back then, the Yanks didn't do draws and even decided drawn games with, not penalties, 35-yard shoot-outs!
Seriously, MLS players who each have five attempts each of running with the ball from 35 yards and attempting to score in a shoot-out situation (a bit like ice hockey) to decide a game.