Chants of ‘Tino, Tino’ filled the air inside St James’ Park as Dan Burn’s battered frame limped off the field after a tough run against Luton Town last weekend.
The mood was angry. The home fans wanted the introduction of Tino Livramento, who was quickly removing his tracksuit on the sidelines next to manager Eddie Howe.
Newcastle were 4-2 down at home against a side battling relegation, Burn had already conceded a penalty for the visitors’ third goal, embarrassed and exposed again by the pace of Luton winger Chiedozie Ogbene.
Minutes later, Burn brought the ball out in midfield and Luton broke away to score their fourth goal. The Geordie crowd were turning into one of their own.
Burn is a center back who can play at left back. Over the past 18 months, he has played most of his football for the club he supported as a boy full-back, but his performance at Luton sparked a worrying trend as opposition teams repeatedly targeted him the left side.
A few days earlier, in the stunning 3-1 away win at Aston Villa, Newcastle briefly threatened to throw away the win when Unai Emery sent winger Leon Bailey so direct and quick to expose Burn’s lack of movement and pace. Howe saw the danger and brought Livramento to save Bailey’s dire threat to his team’s command.
Livramento, signed for £32million from Southampton last summer with the idea of replacing Kieran Trippier, is a right-back but can play on the left and did well when Burn was out injured. back that may still be worried. him.
To make matters worse Newcastle also signed a specialist left-back in the summer from Chelsea, paying a £4million loan fee for Lewis Hall which will be a £28million move at the end of the season. Hall has only started one game in the Premier League, sources say Sports telegraph he has a lot to learn about what Howe wants from him.
Newcastle had a limited transfer budget in the summer due to profitability and sustainability rules and still spent £60 million on two full-backs who couldn’t drop Burn from the starting XI when he was fit.
Sports telegraph she explains why Burn is so important to Newcastle since his £12million signing from Brighton two years ago and looks at what happens next.
The case for protecting Dan Burn
Whenever you speak to a member of Newcastle’s coaching staff, they will praise Burn. He is a “hero” and a “leader” and was an integral part of a defense that conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League last season alongside champions Manchester City. He is a role model for the club’s young players and as a local boy, he was vital in creating that link between the city, the fans and the football association.
It is also, very rarely, let anyone down. At least before the back injury he picked up when he landed awkwardly in a 1-0 win against Arsenal at the start of November. Burn was sorely missed during Newcastle’s terrible run of results in December which saw them knocked out of Europe and the Carabao Cup.
There are also good tactical reasons for Burn to play – he is better in the air, defending in his own box, than the two centre-backs Fabian Schar and Sven Botman. In theory, it provides an extra layer of security against teams that might bombard Newcastle’s box through the air, especially at set pieces.
He has also scored a number of crucial goals this season, including a vital second against Paris Saint-Germain in the 4-1 Champions League win and again in the FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham last month.
It is his presence that gives Howe peace, not only in both boxes, but in the whole team. With Anthony Gordon in front of him, constantly dropping back to help defend against a winger, Burn is not much more isolated. His limitations are hidden because he has the right help and understanding with Gordon.
Against Luton, Gordon was forced to play through the middle due to injuries to Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson. Neither Miguel Almirón, who is also not fully fit, nor Jacob Murphy did the same kind of defensive work and Burn and Newcastle were repeatedly exposed down that side.
The case for Tino Livramento
Newcastle knew what they were getting when they signed the 21-year-old from Southampton. Livramento is a sharp, athletic defender and is dangerous going forward. He is fast and has great balance and close ball control.
It looks on the back attack much more typical compared to the bigger and harder Burn. That’s part of the problem, that people see him as a modern wing-back who will, in theory at least, offer what Trippier does on the other side.
During Burn’s injury, Livramento has shown plenty of promise and should go on to become one of the top backs in the country. He can attack down the left, although he usually plays on the right, in a way that Burn cannot.
It’s probably time to show more faith in him even if it reduces Newcastle’s aerial firepower, especially after what happened against Luton.
Newcastle have not conceded as many goals this season – 37 in the league, which is four more than they conceded during last season – simply because of Burn playing at left-back.
Rather than changing personnel and making the popular decision to bring in Burn and Livramento, Newcastle could change their system, move to a back three against Forest (with Burn as one of the centre-backs) and play Livramento and Trippier more further forward. This would allow one of the midfielders to sit in front of the back line and offer more protection.
Whatever decision Howe makes, making Burn a scapegoat feels wrong. It has its limitations but it also has important virtues. The progress Newcastle have made over the past two years would not have been possible without the 31-year-old. That should not be forgotten, even if it is time for a change.
The Premier League title push will take longer than expected, says Howe
Eddie Howe has warned that it will take longer for Newcastle United to compete regularly at the top of the Premier League than first thought when they were taken over by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
Howe has said that the pace of progress last season was far ahead of where the club as a whole is.
The club travel to Nottingham Forest this weekend sitting ninth in the table and while there is still a lot to play for this season many watchers have described this campaign as a reality check.
Howe doesn’t like that phrase because it suggests to the board and himself that it’s something they didn’t exist, but he acknowledged that there’s a lot of room for growth, especially working to make sure they don’t below the other campaign. many injuries.
“We went into this season with a squad built to deal with all the demands we would face and all the competitions we would play in,” said Howe. “Unfortunately, for us… we hope it was a one-off season.
“It’s not just the number of injuries we’ve had, but the length of time those players have been out. That was the hardest thing for us to deal with. You can handle one or two, but it was three or four months for five, six, eight players.
“Sure, we’ve made mistakes. Surely we could do things better. It’s been one of those seasons where you can feel that everything has gone against us.
“When you have the number of injuries, some of those have come from overuse or maybe our programs are not good enough in the gym.
Newcastle have already found their main physio this season and are also looking at further changes to their medical department, as well as how they prepare players and manage their workloads in terms of of sports science.
“I don’t see it so much as a reality check,” Howe continued. “How does that sound we were thinking we were something we weren’t. We never thought we were anything.
“We knew we were on a journey to become a team that could compete for trophies and attack the main areas in the Premier League. But that is a longer-term vision compared to where we started in the Premier League relegation zone not so long ago.
“So, we are also building the club from within. You don’t just become a Champions League team from a relegation team in two minutes.
“We are on our way, but we are also trying to improve everything internally. You don’t just get there, you have to build, and that takes time. To start with, the infrastructure, the training ground, we are trying to keep up with the pace [of progress] of the team.
“Financial Fair play will limit our speed (progress) on the field, so I think it will take longer than three or four years. It might take longer than that for us to be the team everyone wants us to be.”