Gary Neville picks surprise Newcastle United star man from Aston Villa win

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
While Dan Burn was Gary Neville’s Newcastle United man of the match, the former Manchester United hero thinks this Magpies player was their biggest signing of the January transfer window.

Like most who were in attendance at St James’ Park, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville was in agreement that Dan Burn was Newcastle United’s man of the match in the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

However, the former Manchester United hero has picked out a less obvious star for praise, given his transformative impact since signing in January.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Neville believes the £25million signing of Chris Wood last month has had a bigger effect than many will realise.

“I like the signing of Wood. Those little flick-ons that he wins in the final ten minutes, just keep that ball alive in the corners - it means it’s not coming back at you all of the time,” said Neville, who was at St James’ Park for the game.

“For me, Newcastle have not had that fixed presence, someone they can play up to. Yes, he isn’t going to score a great load of goals but I don’t care about that. It isn’t his job in this team - and I know he is a centre forward and people may think that’s a strange thing for me to say.

“When I was a full-back I wanted players who were always available, who I could hit, that would show for me, we could play off.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Players who when it was difficult away they’d win the flick-ons, run the channels. It sounds really basic but that’s what Newcastle need in this predicament, people who are reliable and Wood is reliable.

“Yes, they paid a lot for him but you can’t get a half decent striker in the Premier League for less than £20million.

“He was signed to keep them in the Premier League and that’s a necessity due to the investment that has been made by the new owners.”

Chris Wood of Newcastle United applauds fans prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on January 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.Chris Wood of Newcastle United applauds fans prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on January 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Chris Wood of Newcastle United applauds fans prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on January 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. | Getty Images

On the January transfer window as a whole, Neville admits he really likes the business Newcastle’s new owners managed to conduct, especially given their position in the Premier League.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Neville continued: “They had to strengthen. And they have done that. Defensively they have brought reliable players in. (Kieran) Trippier and (Dan) Burn are reliable players. They know the Premier League, they know their jobs.

“And that has helped others who maybe have talent and can do their own job, but good defender can look after a whole defence.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.