Newcastle United mid-season awards Q&A: Best player, goal, unsung hero and January targets
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle are sitting third in the Premier League table with 30 points. It is the club’s best start to a season since the 1995-96 campaign, a season which saw them finish second and come within touching distance of claiming the Premier League title.
Our Newcastle United writers Miles Starforth and Dominic Scurr assess the opening 15 matches of the season and highlight the key players, moments and matches witnessed so far...
5. Miles’ most improved player
Miles’ view: After coming through a difficult couple of years under Steve Bruce, Longstaff is back to his best at the club. The midfielder - who’s keeping Jonjo Shelvey out of the team - is covering an incredible amount of ground every game, and is making an impact with and without the ball.
6. Dominic’s most improved player
Dominic’s view: Miguel Almiron’s emergence as one of the Premier League’s most formidable attacking forces this season is something no one really saw coming. He’s gone from a player who barely contributed in the final third last season to one who is able to make an impact every game at the moment. His improvement since the end of last season has been very impressive as he backed up a good pre-season for goals with eight in his opening 15 league games. Photo: David Cannon
7. Miles’ best Newcastle summer signing
Miles’ view: That has to be a toss up between Nick Pope and Sven Botman. Both have settled in very, very well. Pope, a commanding presence in the box, has dealt with just about everything that’s been thrown at him, while Botman quickly adapted to the physicality and intensity of English football. Like Schar, he’s also very composed on the ball. Photo: George Wood
8. Dominic’s best Newcastle summer signing
Dominic’s view: It has to be Sven Botman for me considering the price tag and expectation on his young shoulders. Nick Pope has been a fine addition but we knew Newcastle were getting an established Premier League goalkeeper when he arrived while Botman was still something of an unknown quantity as far as the English top flight is concerned. But the Dutch defender has taken to life in England seamlessly and has helped form the best defence in the Premier League. His ability to play the ball out from the back has helped Newcastle get on the front foot in matches and he’s very rarely beaten to a header. Amazingly, £35million is looking like a pretty good deal. He could go on to become one of Europe’s best.