By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Four senior Newcastle players have failed miserably in the team’s relegation fight, according to Don Hutchison.
The former Sunderland midfielder singled out Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, Daryl Janmaat and Steven Taylor as players who need to show more stomach for the fight.
Newcastle’s hopes of maintaining their Premier League status are left hanging by a thread with just six matches of the season remaining.
They are rooted in the bottom three and six points adrift of safety, with an inferior goal difference to 17th-placed Norwich.
Hutchison was disparaging of the performance of Rafael Benitez’s team last Saturday at Southampton, where they lost 3-1 and were completely outplayed.
“For a team supposedly fighting relegation, Newcastle were nothing short of embarrassing at Southampton,” wrote the Gateshead-born midfielder in his Chronicle column. “The lack of quality is clear but it’s the attitude that so many of them have that is so galling to me.
“Moussa Sissoko has talked of his Champions League aspirations but I’ve not seen him turn up for a game for five months now. Georginio Wijnaldum hasn’t turned in a performance for four months.
“But it says it all that they’re not the two worst culprits. I’m sorry to say it but Steven Taylor isn’t up to it at Premier League level for me. He is not good enough.
“I looked at him on Saturday and I thought he looked overweight for the division he’s playing in. He looked slow and ponderous and it’ll be very interesting to see who comes in for him in the summer. I’d be surprised if a Premier League side does.
“I’d also raise the same questions about Daryl Janmaat. I’d question how much of a stomach for a relegation fight he’s got. As soon as he went down on Saturday after that goal I thought ‘He won’t come out for the second half’. There are too many at Newcastle who throw the towel in when it gets difficult for United – and that’s unforgivable when the club still has a chance of staying up.”
Janmaat reportedly broke two fingers punching the dressing room wall at half-time at St Mary’s Stadium in the latest twist to a forgettable period for the North-east giants.
In other Newcastle news, one of the club’s top earners has no release clause in his contract should the Magpies go down.