Newcastle United have played multiple players at right-back this season, but are any of them the starter for the future?
During the 2019-20 season, Newcastle United have had four players start at right-back. DeAndre Yedlin, Javier Manquillo, and Emil Krafth have seen minutes at the position for the Magpies, in addition to loanee Valentino Lazaro playing a little out of position there.
While right-back hasn’t been a huge negative this season, there have been ups and downs there. A lack of attacking presence and defensive miscues have hampered the overall performance. Javier Manquillo’s contract is up after the season. DeAndre Yedlin has battled injuries and inconsistency. Emil Krafth struggled in limited time in his first year with the club. Are any of these players able to be the full-time starter on the right side of the defense or should right-back be a priority position for an upgrade this offseason?
It’s unfair to write off Krafth after only 11 matches, but he was not Premier League-ready this season. He could stick around as a depth option, especially because his contract runs until 2023.
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The story with Yedlin isn’t anything new. He has great pace that can pressure the opposing backline, but he is not consistent as a crosser and is prone to defensive lapses. The American international has missed time with groin, hip, and hand injuries. His deal runs until June of 2021 and he was previously the first-choice option at right-back. Should that continue?
Manquillo is the most intriguing player here. In previous seasons with Newcastle, he was often not good enough to earn a starting spot. But, after a positive uptrend last year, Javi has been the best option at right-back this season. Like Yedlin, he’s missed time with injuries. And, his contract is up after this Premier League campaign.
Age isn’t really a factor in this because two of the players (Kraft and Manquillo) are 25 years old and one (Yedlin) is 26. I think the best route would be extending Manquillo for at least a couple of seasons to see if he can grab a hold of the starting spot and stay healthy. Yedlin is a great option to play a rotational role and change the match as a substitute with his speed. But, he’s not a reliable enough option at the given moment to be counted on in every match. I wouldn’t have the expectation that Krafth will enter next season in contention to start, but he should stick around as a depth piece.