Tino Livramento rolls his ankle during Newcastle's heroic comeback against West Ham

A ridiculous XI of players that Newcastle currently have unavailable

Newcastle United are not just down to the bare bones, they’re basically just a femur and two or three ribs at this point. Physios handing out crutches like condoms at a freshers’ fair. More injuries than your average episode of Takeshi’s Castle.

Then there are the suspensions. The Magpies currently have two players suspended, and Bruno Guimaraes has been walking the finest of fine lines for the past ten games, somehow accruing nine yellow cards in the first half of the season, yet, since then, managing to avoid a booking that would see him suspended for two matches. It is coming, though. It is definitely coming.

The starting XI you can construct with the Toon’s current list of unavailable players is a bit of a joke. It’s arguably stronger than their available starting eleven. Shall we…?

GK: Nick Pope

Newcastle’s first-choice keeper was crucial to their impenetrable defence last season. In the whole of the 2022-23 season, the Geordies only conceded 33 goals — the joint fewest in the league and equal to champions Manchester City. This season, they’ve already conceded 51, and that’s with nine games remaining.

Whilst Martin Dubravka is an excellent shot-stopper, he does all of his best work within his own six-yard box, whereas Pope likes to command a larger defensive territory, regularly sweeping up outside of his own penalty area, which allows Newcastle to press higher up the pitch, shorten the gaps between lines, and win the ball back with the intensity Eddie Howe prefers.

A dislocated shoulder has kept Pope out since early December, and he looks like missing the rest of the season. Bad news for Newcastle. Bad, bad news.

RB: Kieran Trippier

Yes, he had a little dip in form in December, and that lingered on into the new year, but Trippier is integral to the Magpies. Arguably their most influential signing since the takeover, he was the player that grabbed the squad by the shoulder straps and hauled them out of the Brucey-ball mire, kicking and screaming.

Bringing a winning mentality from Diego Simeone’s Atletico, Tripps dictates play from the back, orchestrating attacks and, until Christmastime, commanding defence. A calf injury has kept him on the sidelines for the past few weeks, but it might end up being just the break he needed after playing roughly 17,000 consecutive games. He’s close, and the Geordies will need him in the run-in for Europe.

CB: Jamaal Lascelles

The club captain probably doesn’t get into the Mags’ starting XI if everybody’s fit, but he’s done exceptionally well when deputising for his fallen comrades, this season.

Lascelles suffered a freak ACL injury against West Ham and will now be out for six-to-nine months, leaving just two available senior centre-backs in the entire squad, and one of them has been their starting left-back all season…

CB: Sven Botman

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-naah BOTMAAAAN has done his ACL and is out for the foreseeable. He’s the Magpies’ best defender. Hopefully, like the Terminator he so resembles, he’ll be back next season.

LB: Tino Livramento

Livramento has stood out in almost every single game he’s played in his short Newcastle career so far despite having very rarely played in his natural right-back position. Eddie Howe knows how good the young Englishman is:

“It has been a brilliant start to his Newcastle career, Tino has handled himself well, played ever so well. It goes without saying how good he is athletically.” Says Eddie. And he’s right. Tino is an athletic beast, but even the scariest beasts aren’t immune to rolling their ankle.

He might be ok — a late fitness test awaits.

Howe has managed Newcastle since November 2021.

QUIZ: Can you name every player Eddie Howe has used at Newcastle?

CM: Joelinton

Newcastle don’t have another midfielder like Joelinton. It’s like having an M4 Sherman tank in the centre of the pitch. Joelinton is as strong as they come — nigh on impossible to take the ball from — and good with his feet.

The Brazilian is out for the season with a thigh injury, and the Toon have simply had to adapt their style without him. He is an integral fan-favourite and a huge miss.

CM: Sandro Tonali

The Italian had played 12 games in all competitions for the Geordies before being banned for betting offences. Further punishment notwithstanding, Tonali will be like a new signing for Newcastle in late August this year.

CM: Lewis Miley

There is not an English football fan on this planet who couldn’t tell you how old Lewis Miley is. One more time for the people at the back, though: HE’S 17!

One of the few positives to come out of Newcastle’s cursed season of injuries has been the emergence of this midfield wonderkid. Alan Shearer agreed with us on The Rest Is Football, his podcast with Gary Lineker and Micah Richards:

“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he just doesn’t look out of place at all. He just looks like he belongs there and he has been there a long time and it is great for him.”

Unfortunately, Miley is now playing centre mid for Injured FC.

We'll give you Alan Shearer for free.

QUIZ: Can you name every player to score 10+ Premier League goals for Newcastle? 

RW: Miguel Almiron

The little eel, as he’s known in Paraguay, came on for ten minutes against West Ham before something twinged and he was forced off for the eventual game-winner Harvey Barnes. It looked completely innocuous, and that’s not usually a good omen.

Miggy is Eddie Howe’s pressing monster, and he’ll be hoping the smiley little fella is back as soon as possible.

LW: Anthony Gordon

Anthony Gordon’s form has been a revelation, this season. So good, in fact, that he’s broken into the England squad and looks set to head to the Euros with his country.

In added time of that chaotic 4-3 comeback win against the Hammers, the TNT commentators were busy announcing Gordon as their player of the match when the ref gave the Scouser a second yellow card for timewasting. There’s can’t be many instances of a player being awarded the commentator’s player of the match as they’re being shown a red card.

We’re going to look into that… article incoming.

ST: Callum Wilson

Little run in the team, score loads of goals, get injured, little run in the team, score loads of goals, get injured. Repeat until the end of time.

Wilson is a genuinely superb striker with a truly awful injury record. It’s no surprise that last season — Newcastle’s best for decades, was the one in which he’s played most games, scoring 18 league goals in 31 appearances.

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player that’s scored for Newcastle under Eddie Howe?