Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Lesser Spotted Winger Now Extinct

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Lesser Spotted Winger Now Extinct

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

With Graeme Souness content to leave his wingers on the bench, Stuart Rayner argues that wide players are United's best hope of upsetting Chelsea

Wingers are dead. If you didn't know already, then sorry for not breaking it to you more gently, but the species is now extinct, forced out of existence by the more dominant hard-working wide midfield player.

Wingers can now be grouped with proper fights, centre-forwards who stay on their feet in the penalty area and Arsenal teams packed with Englishmen as sights than can no longer be seen on a football field.

That, at least, is the view of Graeme Souness.

So it was no great surprise to the 20,000 who braved arctic conditions at the Abe Lenstra Stadion, plus hundreds of thousands of keen Newcastle-watchers at home last night, that the lesser-spotted winger was nowhere to be seen when Souness' side took the field.

Many of his former coaches would probably describe Laurent Robert as hard work, but surely none look upon him as a hard-working wide midfielder. With that in mind, Newcastle kept the Frenchman on the bench for this European away tie.

Without him, though, the team lacked width and wit, resorting to launching long balls in the vague direction of Alan Shearer and the hard-working Shola Ameobi. The hosts, on the other hand, threatened by providing tall targetman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a plentiful supply of crosses from what looked suspiciously like wingers.

The result was an uncomfortable night which did little to endear Souness to the Geordie faithful. His problem is that Newcastle supporters are the kind of people who look back fondly on the days when you could leave the house without locking the door, when children showed respect for their elders and members of the Royal family only got married once. …

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