Newcastle United: 3 players that need to wake up ASAP

Jamal Lewis of Newcastle United. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Jamal Lewis of Newcastle United. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United are a mess as a team, but three players in particular can help resolve that if they start performing.

Newcastle United are struggling as a collective unit, in large part because Steve Bruce’s luck is running out and he is proving to be just as clueless as most fans initially thought.

His experimental formations, deploying players in odd roles, and trying to get points in the Premier League by playing hoof-ball has placed a low ceiling on this team.

That being said, though, 100% of the blame cannot rest on Bruce’s shoulders. Some of the players have been falling asleep at the wheel when their team needed them the most, and they certainly need to wake up ahead of three frightening games against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leicester City.

Sean Longstaff

What in the world is going on with this man? How do you go from rising star linked with Manchester United to a player most people say is Championship quality at best?

Fans have seen what Sean Longstaff is capable of in the final third, and he has also shown that he has the aggression to help disrupt plays and recover the ball, but his level of urgency has been zero this season.

With Isaac Hayden now forced to play at center back until Fabian Schar and Jamaal Lascelles can return to action, Longstaff needs to step up for the team. He needs to show more composure on the ball, hit his targets accurately, and rush back to help the defense.

Jonjo Shelvey

Where is the baller who scored six goals last season and played a major role in setting up some big plays for others? Jonjo Shelvey has reverted to the 2018-19 version of himself, which saw Sean Longstaff take his place in the lineup. In short, Shelvey has been extremely lazy on both ends of the pitch.

Offensively, Shelvey runs into a pocket to receive a pass but then ends up launching the ball to the opposition. He needs to slow down, look around and make an easier pass.

Those meaningless lobs just lead to less possession, which adds pressure on the back line. Defensively, the mercurial midfielder jogs bag and watches his opposite number run into the penalty area unmarked to get a shot off. That needs to stop.

Jamal Lewis

The day that Newcastle United announced the £13m signing of Jamal Lewis, fans were thrilled. The left-back has the potential to be a great player, but inconsistency has been an issue for him early on.

He has the pace to keep up with most wingers, but he needs to do a better job of reading the game. Players are getting behind him too easily.

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When Lewis is higher up the pitch, he has done a decent job of linking up with others and timing his overlapping runs, but his crosses into the box have been painful to watch. One good delivery is all it takes for a player like Callum Wilson to influence a game, but his production is limited if the service is poor.