December 5, 2021

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Eddie Howe tactics and transfer targets: What Newcastle United fans can expect from their new manager

Eddie Howe tactics and transfer targets: What Newcastle United fans can expect from their new manager

Management style

Laid-back, brains rather than brawn, a tactics-board botherer rather than tea-cup chucker, Howe is the epitome of the modern manager who would look just at home at the head of a PR firm as he does in a dugout.

Supporters raised on Kevin Keegan’s heart-on-sleeve heroics might take time to warm to the 43-year-old, but his famously forensic approach means that no stone will go un-turned in the new man’s efforts to secure his long-term future in the post by mustering enough points to stave-off another unwanted spell in the Championship.

Tactical hallmarks

The traditional 4-4-2 approach which brought him such success at Bournemouth is likely to be tweaked to fit the personnel he has available pre-January.

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During his 15 months out of management Howe took time to assess the methods employed by many of his high-profile peers, and will have taken on board some useful lessons from studying the likes of Andoni Iraola at Rayo Vallecano and Atletico Madrid’s combustible Argentine Diego Simeone, with whom he shares much in common in his approach to tactics, if not his conduct on the touchline.

Players who could benefit

Given they will be regularly putting in two more training sessions a week under Howe than the rather more laissez-faire Steve Bruce, it’s a fair argument that none of the largely under-worked Newcastle squad will see the change in management as a benefit.

Most players who were on the sidelines under Bruce were there for a good reason, with a lack of strength in depth making it difficult to see who might grab their chance under the new regime. Martin Dubravka’s return in goal following long-term injury is a no-brainer, regardless of whoever is in charge.

One thing to change asap

Newcastle’s negative mindset. Bruce was rightly criticised for the often overly defensive way he set up his team, but it’s a false economy of which his predecessor Rafa Benitez was also guilty – it was just that the Spaniard was better at orchestrating it.

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Bruce attempted something similar, but Newcastle’s goal still came under as much pressure as if they had gone all out gung-ho. Howe won’t be adopting Keegan’s Harlem Globetrotters method, but he would be well advised to make Newcastle more adventurous.

January transfer targets

Financially, anyone he wants, but realistically his options are rather more limited. Much could depend on the next six weeks as to how attractive Newcastle are to prospective signings, basically putting some distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

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Given their hellish fixture schedule for December, they could still be in the bottom three when the transfer window opens. Of course, money still talks in football so expect a couple of high-profile arrivals, possibly the Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard.


A hellish fixture list means Newcastle could be mired in the relegation zone for some time, meaning January business will be key