Former Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton has revealed he ‘loves what Eddie Howe is doing’ at Newcastle United.
The Magpies have been in stunning form recently and will head into Sunday’s trip to Southampton sat in a European spot after losing just one of their opening 13 games of the Premier League season. Their mood is a complete contrast to that of 12 months ago when the United hierarchy were preparing to appoint Eddie Howe in a bid to overcome a dismal start to the campaign and preserve their Premier League status.
Howe was backed in the transfer market with the likes of Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes moving to Tyneside during the January window - but it was the former Bournemouth manager’s ability to coax serious improvement out of several players he inherited from predecessor Steve Bruce that played just as much of a key role in his side’s successful battle against relegation.
With further additions being made during the summer as the likes of Sven Botman, Alexander Isak and Nick Pope were brought in, Howe has continued to improve his squad and there is no realistic talk of a push for a return to European football.
Sutton backed the Magpies to claim a 2-0 win on the South Coast on Sunday afternoon and praised Howe for the work he has undertaken as he approaches the first anniversary of his appointment at St James Park.
Writing in his BBC Sport Premier League predictions column, he said: “I love what Eddie Howe is doing at United. They have got a really nice balance to the team, and are stingy defensively. Howe has not just bought that improvement with the players he has signed - he is getting much more out of the United players who were already at St James’ Park when he arrived 12 months ago.
“United striker Callum Wilson is one of them, and I think he must go to the World Cup with England. The worry with Wilson is always his injury problems, but he is fit and absolutely flying at the moment. Southampton are very up and down - I say that all the time, but the best example is how good they were in the second half against Arsenal recently, compared with how bad they had been before the break.
“That makes it very difficult to predict what we will see from Saints week-to-week, whereas United are on such a high at the moment and they have found some consistency that is helping them get these good results. Every time Miguel Almiron scores for United, Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish has to eat more humble pie after he joked about the Paraguayan at the end of last season - and I wouldn’t be surprised if Grealish is tucking into another slice on Sunday night.”