While excitement grows around Newcastle’s new signings Yohan Cabaye and co. and they can (hopefully) welcome back Hatem Ben Arfa from long-term injury, one man threatens to continue to go under the radar. Dan Gosling’s Newcastle career is yet to get off the ground. The former Everton midfielder has played just a handful of minutes for the Magpies thus far and cannot shake off his injury troubles. However, this season represents a new start for Gosling and an opportunity for Newcastle’s forgotten man to make his mark.
Dan Gosling came to the north-east with a reputation as an exciting young talent. This is a reputation Gosling should still have, but due to a lack of fitness and a severe lack of game time it is hard to consider the 21-year-old as a hot prospect. Dan himself must be slightly worried that he has not yet managed to play a dozen games in a single season. He may be young, but by now he’d have liked to have plenty more appearances under his belt.
If Gosling can get fit and, more importantly, stay fit, there’s another potential issue that could work against the youngster. While versatility is often seen as a positive attribute, it can also go against you as a player. Something Alan Pardew must guard against is using Gosling to plug any gaps that appear. Being able to play in a number of positions obviously works for you as a squad player, but as a member of the starting eleven you don’t want to be shifting places every week, you want to make one position your own.
This is clearly in Gosling’s thinking and he’s targeting a starting berth in the middle of the park. The 21-year-old told the Evening Chronicle: “I’ve always said that getting into the centre of midfield is my aim as it is my position. That will be what I’m trying to do this year. We have some good players who can also play there like Cheik Tiote and Joey Barton, so it will be tough. But that’s what pre-season is all about for me, and it is up to me to force the hand of the manager. Last year was a nightmare, and it makes me doubly determined to stamp my authority on the first team.”
So Gosling has the fire in his belly, but he has to make it onto the pitch first. That might be harder than it sounds, but I hope for his sake that he can stay fit for an extended period of time. Then Dan Gosling can finally fulfil some of his potential and make sure he’s no longer Newcastle’s forgotten man.
NothingButNewcastle.com is looking for writers. If you love the Toon get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org