Newcastle United supporters have witnessed some of the most eye-catching players in the Premier League history grace the St James’ Park turf. Debates often rage among fans over the topic of greatest ever XIs, with an abundance of quality trimmed down to just 11 names.
Icons like Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley are usually no-brainers in a Newcastle all-time XI. However, what if ChronicleLive were to spice things up a bit?
Choosing players from the Premier League era, name your greatest Magpies XI in the comments below using one player per country. For example, Shearer and Beardsley cannot be in together – as they are both English!
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This is the XI that ChronicleLive came up with. Can you better this team in the comments below?
Shay Given – Ireland
An easy one to start with. Shay Given is third on the Magpies’ all-time appearance list with 462. A 12-year stint on Tyneside saw the Irishman cement himself as a Toon legend and is the greatest Newcastle goalkeeper of modern times.
United have had several players from the Emerald Isle but Given tops the lot.
Habib Beye – Senegal
Beye was named player of the season by Chronicle readers after a stellar debut campaign in 2007-08. His arrival for £2million was dubbed one of the steals of the season but his form – and Newcastle overall – nosedived the following year as the club was relegated.
The initial promise under Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan grants Beye a worthy place in this line-up.
Fabricio Coloccini – Argentina
Signing Coloccini looked like a poor piece of business when he arrived for £10million – a hefty fee in 2008. A poor first season ended in relegation but the Argentine improved drastically after a season in the Championship.
Coloccini was made captain in 2011 and led the Magpies to a fifth-place finish that same season. Almost 300 appearances in a black-and-white shirt makes him a well-respected figure on Tyneside.
Phillipe Albert – Belgium
A centre-back pairing of Coloccini and Albert would be entertaining for supporters, with both prone to the occasional attacking run. The latter etched his name into Geordie folklore when he chipped Peter Schmeichel for the fifth goal in the historic 5-0 win against Manchester United.
Jose Enrique – Spain
Similar to Coloccini, the 2009-10 Championship season helped Enrique develop into a top defender. Liverpool came calling in 2011 amid concerns over Newcastle not challenging for Europe.
Ironically, Enrique’s move was justified long term but the Magpies finished above the Reds the following year.
Nobby Solano – Peru
Solano dazzled on the right flank during two stints at St James’ Park. The Peruvian was renowned for his crossing ability and was pivotal in the side that reached the 1999 FA Cup final.
Gary Speed – Wales
The late Welshman was one of the most dominant midfielders in the Premier League. Six years on Tyneside – despite being at the twilight of his career – saw Speed emerge as a fan favourite.
His inclusion on an all-time list is not unprecedented as he helped Newcastle achieve European football regularly.
Bruno Guimaraes – Brazil
The only current player on the list, Guimaraes has showcased his quality in the short stint at St James’ Park. His arrival would never have happened pre-takeover, with Newcastle stumping up £35million to snatch the Brazilian under Arsenal’s nose.
Guimaraes has the potential to go down as a legend in the coming years.
David Ginola – France
France provokes the most debate in this line-up considering the plethora of talent Newcastle have had south of the English channel. Laurent Robert and Hatem Ben Arfa could have made the list and the modern-day incarnation is Allan Saint-Maximin.
Finishing second in his only two seasons at Newcastle edges the Frenchman ahead of his compatriots.
Tino Asprilla – Columbia
Admittedly, Asprilla was reluctantly included in this team as his goal record was not exceptional. Demba Ba was originally selected but Beye’s inclusion at right-back forced a rethink.
The eccentric Columbian did inspire one of the greatest nights in Newcastle’s history when he bagged a hat-trick against Barcelona – earning him a spot in the XI.
Alan Shearer – England
No quota rule was going to prevent Shearer from getting into this side. A frightening 206 goals puts him top of the all-time goalscorer charts – a record that will stand for years to come.
Shearer came agonisingly close to lifting a trophy in 1997, 1998 and 1999 but it was not to be. The number of goals and good times he gave the Toon Army immortalised the striker into Geordie folklore forever.
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