Newcastle apologise to John Carver for player shortage

Newcastle boss left with just 13 fit outfield players for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal

Newcastle United’s hierarchy have apologised to John Carver for leaving him with just 13 fit outfield players for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Newcastle United’s hierarchy have apologised to John Carver for leaving him with just 13 fit outfield players for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

 

John Carver has received an apology from Newcastle United’s hierarchy after being left with only 13 fit outfield players for Saturday’s game at home against Arsenal.

Newcastle fans have been harsh on Carver in the wake of some mixed results since he succeeded Alan Pardew at New Year and the chances of his contract being extended at the end of the season appear to have receded.

But the 50-year-old has been told the board accept the slenderness of the squad has sold him short and Carver has even been party to planning discussions for next season.

“It’s a difficult situation,” said Carver, who knew that, even without the current injury crisis, the team needed strengthening in January, especially in central defence and attack.

“I’ve spoken to Lee Charnley [the managing director] who has obviously spoken to Mike [Ashley, the owner] and they acknowledge the fact that we’re a little bit short at the back and particularly at centre back.”

He has been told the club are set to correct such shortfalls in the summer. “There’s a big meeting in place in the next week to talk about the future and to talk about investments,” said Carver. “I’ve seen who we are looking at and without going into detail there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This football club will invest in the summer, because it needs it.

“I’m excited that I’m part of the process and excited by the players we’re looking at. They’re good players.”

While Graham Carr, Newcastle’s chief scout, and Charnley endeavour to execute deals, Carver must cope with his shoestring squad.

“The good thing is I haven’t got a selection problem for Arsenal because I’ve only got 13 fit senior players, plus two keepers so that won’t be too difficult,” he said.

“The squad needs to be stronger and Lee and the board have acknowledged that to me. They are going to invest in the summer because they know they have to. There are things in place. That’s from the top and that’s a fact.

“The acknowledgement tells me they’ve realised they’ve got to do something about it. They know that. The fact that Mike and Lee have acknowledged it doesn’t make me feel any better but at least people out there can understand what’s happened.”

If the message from the boardroom is partly intended to take the heat off Carver, it can also be construed as a signal designed to encourage his would be successors that the Newcastle post is a job worth having.

Not that Carver is giving up on his hope of continuing next season. “Who knows what they’re thinking,” he said. “They might take this into consideration, I don’t know.”

But I won’t give up on it. I won’t think ‘well I’ve got all these people out, that’s it, that’s me done, I’m not going to get this job.’ I’m not going to think this way.”

Accordingly he was annoyed by comments from Phil Neville on Match of the Day in the wake of Newcastle’s defeat at Everton last week during which the former Everton and Manchester United player claimed Carver’s side had “their flip-flops on.”

“I was pretty angry when I heard it,” he said. “He couldn’t be further from the truth. I think it’s insulting and it’s wrong. Now it’s down to us to show people we haven’t got our flip-flops on - although we might today because it’s sunny.”

(Guardian service)

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