Brazilian Style to Save Newcastle?

Last updated : 10 February 2005 By Nick Nelson

In behind Shearer and Ameobi?

Graeme Souness has suggested that he may opt for a central midfield partnership of both Andy Faye and Nicky Butt.

I have already heard grumblings that this partnership would be far too defensive and that it would leave Jermaine Jenas in an unpreferred position. However, if you look at the possibilities that could arise from this partnership then you have to be intrigued.

The most successful international team of all time has always played with a similar style. Brazilian football in general has produced two types of players. On the one hand you have the speedy skillful and dam right genius of footballers such as Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, Pele, Romario, Socrates, Roberto Carlos etc. On the other hand the Brazilians have developed neat and hard working players such as Edu, Dunga, Kleberson, Gilberto Silva etc. These types of players always play in a holding central midfield role for their country.

Brazilian national coaches always opt for a unique formation of three central defenders with two holding midfielders to protect them. This then allows their attacking players to roam from both the left and right flanks, safe in the knowledge that there will always be two midfielders behind them supporting the defense.

With regards to
Newcastle, this formation may well salvage something from our faltering campaign. In the three central defensive berths we should, in my eyes, play Bramble, Boumsong and Taylor. The only criticism I have of Bramble is that he has a tendency to switch off at vital moments. However, in his defense, he has shown huge potential against world class opposition. For this I revert back to our Champions League campaign and the games against Juventus and Inter Milan away from home where he played extremely well against Vieri and Del Piero. Bramble also creates chances through his imaginative distribution, something that any of our current or previous centre halves have failed to do.

I believe that Boumsong will be the most important signing Souness will make. His managerial career at St.James’ Park in my mind will be decided by this player. Souness has been the most unsupported managerial appointment at
Newcastle that I can remember. There is reluctance amongst fans to give him too much money to allow him to change the team with many supporters believing or hoping that he will be out the door in the summer.

As for Taylor being my preferred choice at center back ahead of O'Brien, I don’t think this needs much justification as O'Brien is an average player with a touch similar to that seen at a five a side complex on a cold Tuesday night.
Taylor has shown more potential than any other Newcastle
academy graduate.

In keeping with this Brazilian system, our two holding midfielders would be Andy Faye and Nicky Butt, both being highly tenacious players and both willing to fight for the team - something we will definitely miss now that Bellamy has departed.

As for the remaining attacking five, this is where the team becomes slightly less exciting when comparing the deftness of Ronaldinhio to the daftness of Dyer. Robert, for me, must start every game on the left, either in this formation or a
4-4-2. He is the only creative world class (ed: really?) player we have. I accept that he may only show this for ten minutes a game, but Newcastle United need those ten minutes at present.

On the right side I would play Kieron Dyer. As much as I dislike the person and believe him to be overrated, I still think he could offer the team something from this position. He has the biggest engine of any
Newcastle player and he has great speed that when used in the right situation can be deadly (FA Cup last season against Southampton). I accept that these performances are few and far between but since the situation surrounding Bellamy begun he has been our best player (Ed: if ever we needed an indication of how bad things have got) probably because he now realises that he will never play for a club more prestigious than Newcastle United.

Finally, for the three remaining places, Shearer is an obvious and essential starter but the other places are a little more complicated. I have yet to see Jermaine Jenas truly boss a game, he has definite potential but he seems to be lacking the hunger of a Keane, Gerrard or Vieria. As for Bowyer, as much as we hope and pray, I feel he will never be the goalscoring, dynamic player of old. One player who would thrive in this formation is Hugo Vianna. Although I fear that the player Jonathan Woodgate once described as having a sensational left foot will never don the black and white shirt again.

I will leave you the reader to ponder the remaining space in this samba formation, with Kluivert and Ameobi capable of equally frustrating displays as well as performances of sublime skill. Let us all hope that either this or anything else Mr. Souness can conjure up in
can save our season.

If you have any view regarding Nick's article then send them to the editor and I'll pass them on