THREE reasons why this was a mistake

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What do Yohan Cabaye, Joey Barton and Nile Ranger have in common? The answer is that none of them are going on Newcastle’s pre-season tour of the USA.

We all knew that Barton wouldn’t be going, what with his bad behaviour in the past, while Ranger misses out for the same reason and is less of an issue due to his position as a fringe player, but Cabaye not going really is a bit of a blow. The result of this is that Newcastle’s US tour looks like turning out to be a mistake before they’ve even got there.

The importance of pre-season should not be underestimated. While some Newcastle fans will point back to 2009 when the Magpies were trounced at the hands of Leyton Orient and went on to win the Championship at a canter; that was something of an anomaly.

Pre-season is a time to get fit and for new players to gel together, something that Cabaye will now have to wait a while to do. The Frenchman is now likely to have to wait until the match at Leeds at the end of the month to get another run out with the first team, which is just two weeks before the season opener against Arsenal – that’s obviously far from ideal.

Cabaye misses out due to a ‘minor technical problem’, and while manager Alan Pardew was putting a brave face on it, whatever positive spin he’s putting on it, it’s still clearly a blow. While Yohan being barred from the USA was clearly unexpected, given that they knew Barton and Ranger would already miss out, was it a good idea in the first place to head stateside?

They will now head to The Netherlands instead and take part in a training camp. Hopefully fellow midfielders Yohan and Joey will be able to build up a good rapport ahead of the new season, as they should provide much of Newcastle’s creativity from the middle of the park.

However, it would obviously be far better if the pair were with the rest of the squad for the matches against Orlando City and Columbus Crew. Hindsight is always a great thing, but it appears that Newcastle’s pre-season plans didn’t have that much forward thinking behind them.

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