Former Tottenham Hotspur star makes bizarre Newcastle United and Brighton European claim

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One pundit has discussed Newcastle United and Brighton's chances of returning to European competition this season.

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks believes missing out on a place in Europe could prove beneficial for Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion.

After surpassing all expectations to secure a top four finish last season, the Magpies experienced Champions League football for the first time in two decades when they competed alongside AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage of this season’s competition.

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Their achievements were matched by Brighton, who landed a place in Europe for the first time in their history when Roberto De Zerbi led his side to a Europa League spot during his first season in charge at the Amex Stadium.  Unlike Newcastle, the Seagulls extended their European adventures into the second half of the campaign by coming through a group containing Ajax, AEK Athens and Marseille and will face Italian giants Roma in the first leg of a round of 16 tie on Thursday night.

Despite suffering a raft of injuries to key players throughout what has been a hectic season, both Newcastle and Brighton remain firmly in the hunt for an immediate return to European competition last they sit within touching distance of the top seven as the final quarter of the Premier League campaign rapidly approaches.

However, former Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City star Crooks has claimed both clubs may well benefit from focusing purely on their Premier League performances next season by missing out on a place in Europe during the current campaign.

Writing in his BBC Sport column, he said: “The Seagulls look like they are suffering from the mental and physical fatigue associated with competing in Europe, which Newcastle have also felt.  It’s not simply having an impact on both clubs’ injuries, but the ability to produce the expected result or retain their performance levels.  It will be interesting to see where Brighton and Newcastle finish this season. A year out of European competition might do them good and give them a chance to recharge their batteries.”

Newcastle will resume their challenge to return to Europe when they travel to Chelsea on Monday night.

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