Steve McClaren challenges fringe Newcastle players to step up

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Head coach Steve McClaren has challenged his fringe players to take their chance over the festive period.

Newcastle host Everton at St James’s Park on Boxing Day followed by a trip to West Bromwich Albion two days later during the traditionally busy festive period, with Arsenal away the following weekend.

And McClaren says it is “vital” fringe players - such as Florian Thauvin and Jamaal Lascelles - are ready to shine when called upon.

“It’s vital that we have as many people ready to take their chance,” said McClaren.

“It’s good to see Jamaal back, Florian came on the other day and did well with a couple of great crosses.

“I thought he was excellent and gave us another dimension.

“The squad is a bit depleted and we need everyone at the present moment.

“We need every player possible over the next 10 days, definitely.”

Newcastle are unbeaten in three going into the Everton game and McClaren is looking for his side to “kick on” after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Aston Villa last time out.

“You’d like to think so but we’ve had two or three times when we’ve thought we can kick on and then we’ve dropped back,” added McClaren.

“We missed an opportunity against Villa and we’ve got another opportunity on Boxing Day.

“We believe that on our day we can win any game.

“Results bring you belief, we need confidence and belief, the more results you get that will grow.

“They are a good team, good individuals, with good balance to them.

“Roberto Martinez has done a terrific job there and they’re a strong team and should be challenging for the Europa League.”

Asked whether Everton should be higher in the table, McClaren added: “Of course, everybody thinks that apart from one or two who are over achieving.

“We’d like to exploit any vulnerability they’ve got, it’s about ourselves and that’s what we’ve focused on, getting a foothold in the game.

“On our day we’ve got quality players who can score goals and hurt teams as you’ve seen.”