Micah Richards delivers verdict on Newcastle United survival hopes, hails Toon star who 'terrifies' rivals
Micah Richards has argued that Newcastle United will have more than enough about them to avoid relegation this season – provided they can keep their best players fit.
The Magpies kick-off their Premier League campaign with a visit from West Ham on Sunday afternoon, and will be hoping build on the form and momentum that they showed towards the back end of last term.
After spending most of the season embroiled in a relegation battle, Steve Bruce’s men looked to have turned a corner in the latter stages of the campaign, and eventually secured a 12th-placed finish.
Richards is of the opinion that they can aim for a similar standing again in 2021/22, but has reiterated how dependent the Toon Army will be on maintaining a clean bill of health.
Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, he said: “This is the simplest conclusion of all the 20 teams in the division.
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“Should they remain relatively free from injury and have their best players consistently available, Newcastle will be all right.
“You saw the difference at the end of last season that Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin made and Steve Bruce has also been ambitious in recruiting Joe Willock from Arsenal, whose loan spell was outstanding.
“But if the squad is short of key players, they will struggle – and that struggle will feel five times worse than it did before because of fans being back in St James Park.”
Richards also picked out Toon winger Allan Saint-Maximin as his one to watch for the upcoming campaign.
He said: “When he plays, Newcastle are better, it’s as simple as that.
"He can take the ball from A to B to C on his own. He terrifies the opposition.
"Keeping him fit and happy is key.”