Eddie’s eleven wins last season allowed us to plan for next season as a Premier League club in a spirit of optimism. Regardless of whether you were convinced by his abilities or not, it was unimaginable as we started December we would be safe by Easter. So what do we do next to promote the evolution not revolution?

On that basis I am using the twenty-five man squad we ended the season with and review which players we think we can keep and which will have to move on. I am going to work on the basis that five to six players will be changed and that would fit with what happened in January. That means I have excluded players such as Ciaran Clark, Jeff Hendrick etc.

So without further ado.

My first man out the door would likely be Dwight Gayle. The decision to offer a new deal to him seems more bonkers by the minute, Bruce and Howe barely played him and preferred to put Maxi through the middle than play his other striker. His time at United will be remembered for his free scoring spell in the first half of the Championship season. He has never been trusted by any of his managers in the Premier League (Rafa, Bruce or Howe) and presumably wants to play.

Presuming we dip into the market to buy a consistently fit striker with the ability to score then he could leave with all our best wishes for the future. There isn’t any need to regain any cash there, but I am sure there will be some clubs keen to see if he still has the ability to score at a lower level. I’d see him doing well at a club like Norwich for a season, maybe even Boro if he doesn’t want to move from the NE.

The next man likely to leave I think will be Matt Ritchie. Another player from the Championship team, but one who has proved his worth in the Premier League.

Goals against Man U in the first season back and Arsenal, penalties smashed in and corner flags destroyed will be eternal memories. His magic hat was firmly on his head at his peak.

Sadly his best years are behind him and the number of players getting past him has increased. He has been a sound voice to keep in the dressing room as a leader, but a desire to move back to the south coast remains on his agenda. We should allow him to go where he wants and get some first team football in the twilight of his career.

We have also seen Hayden depart on a season’s loan for Norwich and it is likely he’s played his last game for us. Hendrick couldn’t get into the side when Bruce just wanted to tick along so with much loftier ambitions United will be looking to move him on now. Sean Longstaff’s future was settled with a new contract so Howe still believes in the North Shields midfielder. What the future holds for brother Matty is less certain.

Another player needing to get football now is Karl Darlow, I would also include Woodman but he is not in the twenty five. The goalkeeper situation will be reviewed but our long term reserve must think he could play more regularly for other clubs and this summer would be the time to make that move.

How good he thinks he is, how good he actually is, are two different debates but with some people now questioning the levels of Dubravka, Darlow surely is a notch below that. There was a rumour of a transfer to Boro but I would think he could play for a an ambitious Championship club – or a move back to Forest might appeal.

Federico Fernandez has rarely let the club down when available, but he has gone from being a mainstay of the team the last three seasons to barely featuring. Howe clearly has Schar (with a newly extended contract) and Burn as his main two now.

Another central defender will arrive (Botman remains a key target still) and then Lascelles would be fourth choice with his leadership in the dressing room.

There would not appear to be a role for Fernandez and given he will be thirty-four during next season, letting his contract expire at the end of this season (there seems to be some difference in opinion of when his contract ends) could be an easy resolution.

Finally, Jacob Murphy has worked hard, he has tried right back, right wing back and given the impression of someone who really wants to succeed in a B&W shirt.

A Newcastle United fan as a kid he has given his all and I don’t think he has been missing for long periods since 2017 and signing for the club. He is on a longer-term contract but I don’t think he would be in the squad of any side in the PL’s top eight and if we are keeping wingers with limited end product, he would be at the bottom of that pile for me.

I am sure I’ll have upset someone by picking their favourite and leaving them outside the twenty-five, but a certain amount of ruthlessness is needed to make sure we move forward and the owners and Eddie will make a number of changes, these would be mine.

Stephen Ord – @smord84