Eddie Howe backed to thrive under the 'challenge' of reviving Newcastle

Former head of recruitment at Bournemouth, David Webb, believes Howe will bring a clear identity to St James' Park

Eddie Howe was appointed Newcastle manager on Monday. Reuters
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Eddie Howe’s managerial career has taken him from the foot of League Two to what is being called the richest club in the world. If the parameters have expanded for Newcastle’s new manager, the pressure will be greater.

“I think it is a challenge that he will thrive upon,” said David Webb, who was part of his backroom team at Bournemouth. “It is very different to Bournemouth: different club size, structure, ambition.”

An opportunity could also double up as a hospital pass. Newcastle are the only Premier or Football League club without a win this season. They are already five points from safety. Their millions cannot be spent until January and Howe’s last taste of the top flight culminated in relegation in 2020, albeit after keeping Bournemouth up in each of the previous four seasons. “The first task Eddie has got to tackle is to try and maintain Premier League status,” Webb said.

Howe requires an immediate impact. Webb, who went on to work for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham and then become head of football operations at Huddersfield, believes Howe’s capacity to build a club makes him right for Newcastle.

“His coaching ideas will be very clear so that should have some impact on the squad in the short term,” he said. “In the long term, looking at some of Newcastle’s ambitions, he ticks a lot of boxes in terms of where they would like to be in the next year or two.”

The sacked Steve Bruce did not. His football was either too defensive or increasingly incoherent. Howe has an ethos that Webb feels fits Newcastle’s historic image as entertainers.

“He will bring a definite playing philosophy,” he said. “At Bournemouth, they liked to dominate the ball, they liked to attack, it was a modern-day approach in terms of the way they set up. His brand of football, if he is to bring the same as at Bournemouth, would be quite well suited to Newcastle.”

The criticism of Howe’s football is that it can be too porous. Newcastle have conceded 24 goals already. His Bournemouth let in at least 61 goals in each of their five Premier League seasons. Webb came to an old friend’s defence. “I wouldn’t say it is particularly a worry because their offensive work was so good,” he said.

If it underlines the importance of making Newcastle better on the ball, Webb added: “At Bournemouth, he ingrained that style right from when they were in League Two. He will want that playing style, but he will be well aware of where Newcastle are defensively and trying to address that straight away.”

Howe spent 15 months out of the game after leaving Bournemouth. He has an inquisitive mind and Webb said: “He would have been studying more the European-based game with the thought of coming back to the Premier League. I know he would have been looking at a lot of games abroad to update his coaching library and to learn.” Howe was a keen admirer of Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea. “He was looking at their tactical framework and the way he sets his team up,” Webb said.

If Newcastle seem to have rather inferior personnel, Howe has already worked with Matt Ritchie, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson, who was bought for Bournemouth after Webb scouted him. He has an insight into the kind of players Howe likes and namechecked Joe Willock, Jamaal Lascelles, Allan Saint-Maximin, Sean Longstaff and Jamal Lewis as five more who he could appreciate.

Stay up and they could be joined by more glamorous figures. “If he can keep the team in the Premier League, they will have a blank canvas to work from,” Webb added.

Updated: November 09, 2021, 12:20 PM