Newcastle United hit by ‘very difficult’ Champions League decision ahead of AC Milan trip

Eddie Howe has revealed he has had to have some difficult conversations with some of his players ahead of Newcastle United’s Champions League campaign.

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Newcastle open their Champions League group stage at AC Milan on Tuesday night (5:45pm kick-off). Before that, Howe had to name his squad of players eligible to take part in the competition.

Unlike the Premier League, where Howe was able to name a full squad without leaving any first-team player out, Champions League squad rules meant four players had to be omitted for the group stage matches.

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The Magpies have left Mark Gillespie, Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo and Matt Ritchie out of their Champions League squad - four players who haven’t started a Premier League match for Newcastle since the beginning of last season.

But when reflecting on the decision, Howe admitted it was still a ‘very difficult’ call to make.

He told The Gazette: “Very difficult. It was a difficult situation for me and the club to be in really where we had to leave players out of the squad and we don’t want to leave anyone out.

“It was a reward for the whole squad last year and we had to make some very tough calls because of the rules and regulations that the Champions League put in place. They weren’t easy conversations but ones I had to make.”

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The omissions are due to the fact that Champions League squads are only able to have 17 players named without any restrictions. In order to name more players in their squad clubs can include up to eight further homegrown players.

Of the eight homegrown players, at least four must be club-trained in order to name a full squad of 25. If a club are unable to fill the homegrown or club-trained player quotas, their squad sizes will be reduced accordingly.

While players born on or before January 1, 2002 do not need to be included in the 25-man Premier League squad in order to be eligible to play, they do need to be included in the Champions League squad lists unless they are club trained.

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Because of this a second list, ‘List B’ must be submitted to UEFA which includes players born on or before January 1, 2002 who have been eligible to play for the club in question for an uninterrupted period of at least two years or three years including a one-year loan spell. Players such as Elliot Anderson and Lewis Miley fall into this category while new signings such as Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall don’t.

An unlimited number of players can be named on ‘List B’ and they can be submitted by midnight the day before a match in order for players to be eligible to play.

Newcastle have only three club trained first-team players in Elliot Anderson, Sean Longstaff and Paul Dummett. With Anderson fitting the criteria to be named in ‘List B’ Newcastle were only able to name 23 players in their ‘List A’

Newcastle’s Champions League squad ‘List A’:

Miguel Almirón

Harvey Barnes

Sven Botman

Dan Burn

Martin Dúbravka

Paul Dummett

Anthony Gordon

Bruno Guimarães

Lewis Hall

Alexander Isak


Loris Karius

Jamaal Lascelles

Tino Livramento

Sean Longstaff

Jacob Murphy

Nick Pope

Fabian Schär

Matt Targett

Sandro Tonali

Kieran Trippier

Joe Willock

Callum Wilson