Following the exit of Jose Enrique, Newcastle United have been searching high and low for a left back. Unsurprisingly, that search has taken them to France, while Erik Pieters is also a strong contender, but is there a solution for Alan Pardew a little closer to home? Shane Ferguson is one of the most exciting talents at St James’ Park right now, but does he have the potential to save the Magpies a little bit of money and make the left back slot his own?
Shane Ferguson broke onto the scene at Newcastle last season. Although the 20 year old only has seven Premier League appearances and nine in total for Newcastle under his belt, the Northern Irishman did impress in the famous black and white striped shirt. He’s still young and he’s still raw, but he obviously did something right and impressed the management as he put pen to paper on a new five-year contract at the end of the season.
Unfortunately, an ankle injury kept Ferguson out of Newcastle’s season opener against Arsenal and he’s unlikely to feature against Sunderland tomorrow either. But long term, Shane could well be a regular on the left hand side of the Newcastle team sheet. Whether that’s at left back or left midfield remains to be seen, but you feel that if he works hard on his defensive qualities then he can become a regular in the Newcastle back four.
The good news for Ferguson and Newcastle is that the youngster isn’t far away from a return to the first team. He tweeted earlier in the week “First game back the day since injury good to be back playing again =)”. This was after Shane featured in the reserves, so he could be back in Pardew’s thinking before the month is up. Whether by that time he has more competition for the left back slot remains to be seen, but he would provide decent backup in that position at the very least.
Shane Ferguson is a player that should have a very bright future at Newcastle. He made his debut for the Northern Ireland senior team when he was just 17 and has plenty of pace to bomb up and down the left hand side of the park and has a bit of trickery to go with it. While I think it is essential that Newcastle spend money on an established left back, there’s no point in buying a player just for the sake of it and if it was a toss up between Wayne Bridge and Ferguson, I’d definitely go for the latter.
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