Butt does little to silence critics - is he the future?

Last updated : 02 November 2004 By Craig Hope (website editor)

If Sunday’s defeat against Bolton added weight to one man’s recent argument then it was that of Malcolm MacDonald’s. Super Mac has of late labelled Nicky Butt as pedestrian and claimed that the ex-Man Utd midfielder is unnecessary and slows down the Newcastle midfield.

I believe that at the beginning of the season the Toon supporters were so amazed and relived to see a player tackling and breaking up the oppositions attacks that they were in many ways over praising Butt’s performances – I for one was certainly guilty of this.

Against Bolton on Sunday and certainly in games before this I have began to see exactly where it is our legendary number 9 is coming from.

Butt’s passing on Sunday was awful, his running was minimal and the speed at which he goes about matters was all too slow. Away to Charlton Butt was also poor and was indeed ultimately substituted. His evident will to win and aggression are factors that are invaluable to the team and in my opinion he should start every game in the foreseeable future.

Longer term however I am yet to be convinced of Butt’s value to the team. In the modern era of all round midfielders, are you limiting yourself if you have two central players – one that holds and one that goes forward? I believe that the future of successful central midfield pairings is two players who can both defend and attack. We have one already in Jermaine Jenas and another in Lee Bowyer to a certain degree.

Look at the country’s two best central midfielders – Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Are these two players attacking or defensive? The answer is both – they are all round midfielders. Nicky Butt is not this - the survival of his type of midfield player at the top level of football may soon become a thing of the past.

E-mail me with your views at chope242002@yahoo.co.uk