Belfast Telegraph

Keegan concerned by thin squad

Kevin Keegan surveyed his Newcastle United squad in the wake of Saturday's 4-1 victory at Hartlepool and said that it still requires "about four quality players in the right positions."

It is an opinion that will be heard by club owner Mike Ashley and head of recruitment Dennis Wise with interest, though there was no venom in Keegan's words. As the Newcastle manager said, while he has a surfeit of Damien Duff-style wide players, there is an absence of good cover elsewhere in the squad. Newcastle need defenders but so far they have acquired only two midfielders in Danny Guthrie and Jonas Gutierrez – and there is a problem with Gutierrez's registration that prevented the Argentine winger making his debut on Saturday.

"We haven't got competition everywhere," Keegan said, "we need to address that and that's what we're trying to do. We might not have been so successful in the market but there's a long time to go, plenty of opportunities."

Michael Owen was not present at Hartlepool but Keegan said he will be training today. Of Gutierrez, whose transfer is disputed by his former club, Real Mallorca, Keegan added: "I think by Monday it's fine, that's my understanding – unless there's something I don't know about. I think by Monday Mallorca have got to put in the things [sic], at least that's my understanding."

In the United States, Landon Donovan rescued a point and nearly hit the winner for David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy in a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls.

A great individual second-half goal from Juan Pablo Angel put the home side 2-1 ahead, but, in front of Major League Soccer's biggest crowd of the season, 46,754, the Galaxy hit back during injury-time when Donovan curled in a right-footed cross from the left.

After the game Beckham praised the Galaxy coach, Ruud Gullit, for transforming the side since taking over from Frank Yallop in November.

Beckham said: "It wasn't my decision to bring Ruud here but obviously I was asked about it and to have an experienced coach like Ruud here can only be good for the club and good for the players.

"Everybody knows how amazing he was as a player and I know how good he was as a manager as well, from speaking to a lot of players that he managed.

"So to have someone with the coach's experience here is very important for our team and for the club as well because it's not just on the field that he's changed things. He's changed things off the field as well through his experience of managing big clubs.

"It's step by step," Beckham added, "but it's about getting consistency. It's also about getting a togetherness within the team and that's one thing the coach has also done."

Belfast Telegraph


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