Callum Wilson bests England striker battle plus system suits FOUR unlikely heroes - Liam Kennedy's SEVEN Newcastle United takeaways
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Sunday was a good day for Newcastle United, the fans, players and Steve Bruce. There was A LOT to like about the Magpies, who really seem to be growing into their newly imposed 5-3-1-1 formation.Here our writer Liam Kennedy picks out his SEVEN key takeaways from the Toffees triumph - including some full-back love, a Fede masterclass and the easy winner of the battle of the England debut scorers.
Wilson for England
Gareth Southgate is not a million miles away from naming his latest England squad and in the battle of the Three Lions frontmen, Wilson bettered Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Sunday - two goals to one.Both fed off scraps for long periods of the game, but Wilson's instinctive runs, his predatory nature and all round aggression as a lone frontman made him stand out from the crowd.Southgate must surely be considering making room to have another look at Wilson, despite his embarrassment of riches in that department?All too often NUFC fans call for England caps for their players, often when one is not warranted. There has, for some time, been a perceived bias (I don't buy into that one). This time, though, they've got a striker to justify their cause.
High five for Lewis
In a four he looks OK. In a five, much more at home.Jamal Lewis has had some tough moments in black and white this season, not helped by those around him - but in this new five/three-man backline he looks perfectly suited.The system allows him more license to get forward, playing much further up the park.Long may these positive performances continue.
Surprise string to Murphy bow
In a season of surprises, who'd have thought one of the biggest would be the emergence of Jacob Murphy from the Newcastle United shadows.He's no wingback by trade but has taken to the role like a duck to water.We've seen he can score, but it's his defensive work that shone through against the Toffees.A good, honest lad who wants to play for the shirt and wants to learn. You'll do for me.
The wall of Fernández
Blocks galore. And vital ones at that. That's how is describe Fede Fernández's latest Newcastle United performance.The Argentine, on the left of a three, was a rock at the back for the Magpies.He's set the bar high with his performances in recent seasons, but even he surpassed that against Everton.
The Hendrick base
The Irishman has been underwhelming for United this season - mostly because he's been played out of position on the right.It finally, though, looks like Steve Bruce has found a home for the former Burnley man - slap bang in the middle. Who'd have thought it?Where Isaacs Hayden lacks flair, Jonjo Shelvey mobility, Hendrick fits the role well, seemingly with his constant want to not only move the ball back and sidewards, but also forward and does so sensibly.He made those around look like better players, a key attribute of the midfield anchor.
Longstaff worth the wait
We've got one Longstaff back and one waiting in the wings. And on this form, United are in a very lucky position.Sean was at his smooth, silky best on Sunday, passing, moving, spraying, almost scoring. He's a delight of a player to watch when putting in displays like this.Doesn't look right further back in a two and hasn't yet justified a No10 spot consistently, but in this midfield three, he ticks a lot of boxes.
If there is one player who does not quite fit into this system, you could argue it is Allan Saint-Maximin.The fleet-footed Premier League defence-breaker has been given more of a free role further forward, but has failed to really influence against Wolves and then Everton.The freer role should suit, but it doesn't.Coming off the left is ASM's strength, but for the moment, he'll have to find his way back to form off Wilson.