Newcastle United’s players form a group huddle ahead of the Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur.
The year 2021 will be forever remembered by Newcastle United fans as the one that offered new hope and new beginnings for their football club.
It’s been all change off the pitch following the game-changing takeover of PCP Partners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and RB Sport & Media in October.
On the pitch however, it’s been another 12 months of relegation fears, with Eddie Howe and his players needing time to shake off the shackles of previous owner Mike Ashley and his lack of his transfer investment.
Indeed, that came to a head in the summer when Joe Willock, who after spending the previous five months on loan from Arsenal, was the only signing to arrive.
Although the squad has remained the same for 12 months, our writer Jordan Cronin has did his best to select his Newcastle United 2021 Team of the Year:
While injuries have made it a stop-start year for Dubravka, the Slovakian has returned at key times to make his impact known, not least when his return coincided with United’s surge to Premier League survival last season.
Tried and starred as a right-wing back during the latter stages of last season, the 26-year-old essentially saved his once faltering Magpies career to deservedly earn himself a new contract in the summer.
No team is complete without its captain. And to be honest, that’s probably the overriding reason why Lascelles makes the cut, despite a notable dip in form this year, particularly in 2021/22 anyway.
If you’re looking at minutes played, then Ciaran Clark has probably played the most but the popular Fernandez gets the nod ahead of him and Fabian Schar. It’s hard to think of a time the Argentine has let NUFC down when he’s featured.
The left-back/ wing-back role has rested on Ritchie’s shoulders with Jamal Lewis underused by Bruce. Now, the former Norwich man is injured. But give Ritchie credit, for his defensive struggles at times, he is a real leader, big character and a quality crosser of the ball.
Shelvey constantly divided opinion under Bruce but now Howe has arrived, the 29-year-old has become a little more appreciated. While some may question his lethargic body language, his ability on the ball is a rare quality that no other NUFC midfielder possesses.
While Willock has failed to hit anywhere near the heights of his loan spell since arriving from Arsenal for £20m… his club-record equalling seven goals in seven games that ultimately kept United in the Premier League should not be forgotten. He’ll come good again.
You can never doubt Almiron’s workrate, effort and determination - three traits that make him a firm favourite on Tyneside. And that’s exactly why Bruce kept him in the starting XI in an unfamiliar central midfield role.
His revival began in March when the Brazilian emerged as a bright spark from the bore 0-0 draw at West Brom. Since Howe’s arrival, Joelinton’s progress has accelerated, with him becoming an unlikely midfield powerhouse. Right now, he’s the first name on the team sheet.
The man that makes all things tick for Newcastle United. For all his obvious qualities as a winger, Saint-Maximin’s best performances for United this calendar year have been as a central striker, or a position down the middle.
Wilson has missed 14 games solely through injuries this year, where each spell on the sidelines has worried Newcastle fans immensely given his natural goalscoring attributes. He ends 2021 as the club’s top scorer with 10 goals.