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Let's get to the links...
The big news of the day is Sol Campbell's remarks about wanting to continue to play for England. At 35, Sol already has 73 caps, but he said this to the press, "I have still got it. I still have the passion, the fire in my belly." Memo to Sol: Refrain from referring to your belly. These are easy jokes that you're setting yourself up for. Story from Sky Sports and The Guardian. Will Scott of The Northern Echo expands on the story by including quotes from Sol about the state of the club. He has some relatively high expectations of The Toon, which I think is great. Part of the reason that Sol was brought in was to be a leader, and setting a tone by expecting certain things of the players around you is a great way to go about leading a club fresh off of a promotion. In any case, I would not be surprised if Capello does call on Sol in the near future, since it seems like every other story in the papers right now is about this or that player having to pull out of international competition. If Campbell is fit (and that's a big if), you can count on his number of caps increasing.
As we all know by now, Chris Hughton and Mike Ashley were a busy pair during the transfer window, bringing in 5 players, all of whom are expected to improve the team. Fabricio Coloccini is well aware that this means some players will be losing some minutes to make way for the new arrivals, and he relishes the opportunity to compete for a starting spot. Coloccini said to Lee Ryder of The Chronicle, "All of the players we have signed are good for us because they want to help the club. But they also increase the competition. That is good because it means that nobody can afford to relax. There are no longer automatic choices here." As a fan, you can't help but get excited knowing that there aren't enough spots to go around for the amount of talent that the club has. It's certainly better than having to scratch and scrounge to field a Starting XI. But I'm starting to wonder how it will affect the players' moods. Will those who are displaced react in a positive or a negative way to reduced playing time? Fabriccio is certainly saying all the right things in public, but Chris Hughton will have to be a good manager of egos to keep everybody satisfied. Let's hope he doesn't let hurt feelings get in the way of putting the right people on the pitch at the right time.
The new rules about home-grown players got Lee Ryder thinking. He concludes that rules or no, there had better be a pipeline of talent coming through Tyneside. Hard to disagree there.
Finally, if you haven't heard about Non-League Day, make sure and check it out. RKW and I will be attending our own local game, and we'll be giving it special attention here on the blog.
Howay the lads!