Newcastle United are top table ... for injuries

John Carver
John Carver

Newcastle United were top of the table last season – for days lost to injury.

Head coach John Carver and Alan Pardew, his predecessor at St James’s Park, were beset by injury problems.

You can’t look to short-term fixes, and put players at risk for the here and now.

And the lengthy list of absentees contributed to the club’s poor form in the latter months of the campaign.

Newcastle only confirmed their Premier League status on the final day of a troubled season.

The club lost players to reported injuries for an astonishing total of 1995 days, according to a detailed statistical analysis undertaken by Premier Injuries.

This was 350 days more than second-placed Arsenal.

However, the injury problems which plagued Carver and Pardew were nothing new to the club, according to injury data analyst Ben Dinnery, founder of Premier Injuries.

Dinnery said: “This season is nothing out of the ordinary for Newcastle.

“This has happened over a number of seasons. The club has always featured prominently in the injuries table – they’ve been there or thereabouts, and nothing much seems to change.

“But it’s important to note that the backroom staff shouldn’t shoulder the blame. Ultimately, you have to look at it collectively.

“The decision on who is involved in matches falls to the manager or head coach. I remember Alan Pardew admitting after the Capital One Cup game against Manchester City that he had played Rolando Aarons against medical advice.

“But you can’t look to short-term fixes, and put players at risk for the here and now.

“You also have to look at investment in and availability of quality replacements. If there are none available at a club, that can be a reason why players are brought back ahead of schedule.

“John Carver was more protective, and seemed to resist the urge to bring back players too quickly.”

Newcastle’s immediate priority is to appoint a new head coach – managing director Lee Charnley is drawing up a shortlist for the post – and the club’s squad also needs strengthening and overhauling this summer.

Dinnery also believes that United should also look to address its recent injury record.

“What is paramount to a manager or head coach is having players at his disposal,” said Dinnery.

“When you’re working with a small squad of 18 or 19 Premier League standard or experienced players, you need 16 or 17 of those available week in, week out.”

“You can’t legislate for impact injuries and bad tackles, but certain types of injuries can be minimised.”

Carver felt the club’s injury problems were a key factor behind its slide down the table.

For more information on Premier Injuries, go to premierinjuries.com.