Newcastle United’s form in recent games has been nothing short of sensational and rightly so much of the focus has centred on the attacking trio of Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton. All have contributed immensely in their own ways and helped Newcastle to 10 points out of the last 12 as they go into two very winnable home games against Blackburn Rovers and Fulham at St James’ Park. However, the return of one man deserves a special mention.
Danny Simpson is a player who goes about his business without much fuss. The former Manchester United academy player was injured at the start of the season with an ankle problem and boy did Newcastle miss him. I don’t want to be over critical of James Perch, but the former Nottingham Forest defender looked well out of his depth in the Premier League. Time and time again he was caught out positionally as the goals Charles N’Zogbia scored for Wigan showed, with the ball coming over Mike Williamson from the right and Perch not covering round the back.
I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the return of Simpson has led to an upturn in Newcastle’s fortunes. Simpson is a solid defender and the best compliment I can pay him is that you don’t notice him much during the game, which means more often than not that he isn’t putting a foot wrong. He contributed greatly to the clean sheet against Arsenal at The Emirates and produced a goal saving tackle in the second half as Marouane Chamakh looked certain to score.
With Simpson back in the team the Newcastle backline is looking far more solid and alongside Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini and Jose Enrique, has helped the Magpies fight off their reputation of leaking goals at the back, in the short term at least! Newcastle manager Chris Hughton must be delighted at how quickly Simpson has slotted in at the back and any talk of the Toon needing a new right back has now been dispelled, as Danny is more than up to the task.
It seems that Danny Simpson’s recent performances haven’t gone unnoticed either, as it was reported on the TalkSport website today that the right-back is in line for a shock England call-up as back up for Liverpool’s Glen Johnson. Whether Fabio Capello turns to Simpson remains to be seen, but the 23 year old has certainly made the right back position his own and I’m sure many fantasy football players will be looking to him as an option in their team. As Frederick Weatherly once sang “Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!”