Gary Lineker explains why Newcastle United are being targeted as Alan Shearer defends Magpies star

Newcastle United were heavily discussed on the latest episode of The Rest is Football podcast.
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Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have both spoken out over the criticism received by Newcastle United defender Dan Burn in recent weeks.

The Magpies star has been a monumental presence in Eddie Howe’s side over the last two seasons as he helped his boyhood club stave off the threat of relegation before securing a Champions League place and reaching a major cup final during his first full season at St James Park.

However, Burn’s place in Howe’s starting eleven has been questioned in recent weeks after a dip in form led to two uncomfortable afternoons against Luton Town and Nottingham Forest. The Blyth-born defender struggled to handle Hatters forward Chiedozie Ogbene during last weekend’s 4-4 draw and suffered a similar experience against Forest winger Anthony Elanga as the Magpies claimed a 3-2 win at the City Ground.

Match of the Day host Lineker believes opposing managers are targeting United’s left-hand side and pointed to the ‘issues’ Burn experienced when facing former Manchester United star Elanga on Saturday evening.

Speaking on his The Rest is Football podcast, the former Tottenham Hotspur and England striker said: “I have to say this and I think teams are picking out that left-hand side of Newcastle’s defence. If they’ve got someone quick like Elanga against Dan Burn, which caused issues once again as it did in the previous game.”

Magpies legend Shearer stood up for Burn and insisted Howe had made ‘the right decision in the end’ after deciding against replacing the former Fulham and Brighton and Hove Albion defender with Livramento for the win at the City Ground.

He said: “Eddie will look at it. I think he’s a really loyal guy, for what Dan Burn has done for him and for Newcastle. He’s been a magnificent signing and that is his go-to back four with Trippier, Schar, Botman and Burn. That was key to how tight and mean they were last season.

"He’s stuck with him for that. There was a lot of noise to leave Burn out and bring in Livramento at left-back, because Dan has been punished in the last few weeks. But Eddie has stuck with him and, although he got done again, they got the right result so I think it was the right decision in the end.”