Magpies boss Chris Hughton insists his side have the quality to cope in the absence of Hatem Ben Arfa.
The electric winger, on loan from French side Olympique Marseilles, could miss the rest of the season with the fractured tibia and fibula sustained under challenge from Nigel De Jong in the 2-1 reverse to Manchester City on 3 October. But Hughton remains confident in his squad’s ability to secure Premier League survival after winning promotion from the Championship last season.
“I think we can cope with Hatem being injured,” Hughton told The Journal. “It wasn’t a question of the creativity we were lacking, he just happens to be a different player who offered us something different. But we have others who can provide that. Jonas Gutierrez is a particular type, Peter Lovenkrands is a particular type too. We still have a lot of quality. Ben Arfa is a different player but just because we’ve lost him doesn’t mean we don’t have enough quality players.”
Capello’s Carroll Warning.
England Coach Fabio Capello has issued a stark warning to highly-rated Magpies striker Andy Carroll: if you don’t play for Newcastle, you won’t play for England.
Capello has been in the firing line again this week after England’s tepid 0-0 draw against minnows Montenegro at Wembley, and for turning to the 33-year-old Kevin Davies instead of the young crop of English strikers including Carroll and Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge.
However the Italian has explained that Carroll’s failure to play in Newcastle’s last match against Manchester City – in which the 21-year-old was restricted to a late appearance from the bench – counted against him.
“He has to play – the last game, he didn’t,” said Capello, according to The Telegraph. “The one thing about Andy is that it hasn’t fazed him at all,” said Magpies boss Chris Hughton. “He just wants to play football and enjoy it – he won’t be fazed by talk about England. What he’s done is sign a new contract, and there’s nothing that could have made him any happier.”
Kranjcar to St James’s?
The News Of The World reports that Tottenham’s Croatian midfielder Nico Kranjcar could be on his way to the North East in the summer.
Kranjcar, 26, has fallen out of favour at White Hart Lane, with boss Harry Redknapp perhaps understandably preferring deadline-day signing Rafael Van Der Vaart.
The creative midfielder is out of contract in the summer but has vowed to fight for his place, saying: “I am waiting for my chance… The squad is probably one of the best in the Premier League. I have to work hard.”
Other clubs, including Everton and Monaco, are believed to be monitoring the situation. But Newcastle manager Chris Hughton believes his offer of regular first-team football could convince Kranjcar to make the switch, with The News of the World claiming the Croatian will be offered a pre-contract agreement in January with a view to a summer move.