AUSTRALIA head coach Ange Postecoglou has launched a stinging criticism of Newcastle United’s handling of Curtis Good’s hip injury after he was forced to leave the defender out of his World Cup squad.
Good was named in the Socceroos’ provisional squad list for Brazil, and travelled to Australia last month to attend a pre-tournament training camp.
However, it quickly became obvious that a long-standing hip flexor problem had not been resolved, and the 21-year-old was axed from Postecoglou’s final 23-man selection last week.
Good initially sustained the injury while on international duty in March, and was sidelined for the final two months of last season as the problem was addressed.
However, Postecoglou clearly feels the treatment was inadequate, and has called upon Newcastle’s medical staff to step up their efforts to get to the bottom of the issue in order to ensure the highly-rated defender is available for club and international duties next season.
“We wanted to give Curtis every chance and, to his credit, he worked really hard and did everything the medical people wanted him to do,” said the Australia boss. “We tested him out but he just couldn’t get back up to where he wanted to and so the wise decision for him was to send him back home to sort out his injury once and for all.
“He could have played a significant role in this World Cup, so I wanted to give him every chance. But one thing we do know is that it (the injury) probably still hasn’t been correctly treated.
“He had three or four failed attempts, which suggests to me it is probably something he needs to deal with, and his club needs to deal with a little more urgently now to really find out what the problem is.”
Good’s only senior appearance for Newcastle came in last season’s Capital One Cup win over Morecambe, but after loan spells at Bradford City and Dundee United, the youngster is set to play a more prominent role in Alan Pardew’s first-team squad next season provided his injury issues are resolved.
He is extremely highly regarded within the Australian national set-up, and having tied him to a long-term contract that runs until 2018, Newcastle’s coaching team will be keen to test him in the Premier League next term.
Who might be playing alongside him remains as uncertain as ever, with the Magpies’ attempts to progress on a number of different transfer fronts having been frustrated over the weekend.
Montpellier’s continued brinkmanship over Remy Cabella has not gone down well within the corridors of power at St James’ Park, with the Ligue 1 club adopting the same intransigent negotiating techniques that proved so frustrating during the January transfer window.
Newcastle’s negotiating team thought they had received a strong indication that Montpellier would be willing to accept an initial fee of around £7m, only for their bid to be publicly rejected on Friday evening.
The Magpies must now decide whether to table an increased offer, although there is no chance of them meeting Montpellier’s current asking price of 15m Euros for a midfielder who was unable to make the France squad for this summer’s World Cup.
Paris St Germain, Marseille and Arsenal have also been linked with Cabella in recent weeks, but sources in France claim it is unlikely that any of the 24-year-old’s suitors will match Montpellier’s asking price.
Newcastle were again offered the chance to talk terms with long-standing target Bafetimbi Gomis over the weekend, with the striker’s agent, Willie McKay, effectively touting him around the majority of clubs in the Premier League.
The Magpies came close to signing Gomis from Lyon last summer, and have been invited to rekindle their interest in the 28-year-old.
“I am speaking to five Premier League clubs about Bafetimbi, and it is no surprise there is a lot of interest in him as he is one of the best free agents out there,” said McKay.
Newcastle were linked with former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner in a number of quarters over the weekend, but the club has no interest in recruiting the Denmark international.