EDDIE HOWE admits there will be senior first-team players leaving Newcastle United this summer, with the Magpies manager using the final few games of the season to firm up his judgements on some of the current members of his squad.

The Magpies crashed to a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City this afternoon as Pep Guardiola’s side took a giant stride towards the successful retention of their Premier League title. Raheem Sterling scored twice, with Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden also finding the net as City moved three points clear of Liverpool with three more games to play.

Newcastle have dropped back down to 13th position, and will round off their season with a home game against Arsenal and a trip to Burnley.

They have achieved their primary aim of avoiding relegation, but have much loftier ambitions for the future, which will necessitate another major overhaul in the summer transfer window.

Potential signings have already been identified, but with Ciaran Clark, Jamal Lewis and Isaac Hayden already surplus to requirements and not part of the Magpies’ 25-man squad, there will have to be some high-profile departure before new players can arrive.

“I think every summer I’ve been in management, I’ve had to make difficult decisions at the end of the season,” said Howe. “Players that you love and have a great relationship with, sometimes have to leave for the benefit of the team.

“This season will be no different. I’m sure there’ll be players that will move on, who have represented the club in a brilliant way.

“Those decisions can wait until the end of the season. For me now, it’s about making judgements and assessments on everybody I’m working with. The training ground is a hugely important place for me, so I’m making judgements there, and then of course on days like today, I’m making judgements on players’ futures, based on what I see. I think that’s natural.”

While Newcastle were comprehensively outplayed at the Etihad, there was a bright spot in the second half as Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson both returned from injury.

Neither player showed any ill effects from their lengthy lay-offs, with Wilson coming close to grabbing a late consolation when he broke clear of the Manchester City defence before shooting at Ederson.

“I thought they showed what they can give us when they came on,” said Howe. “Kieran immediately put two or three brilliant crosses into the box, real quality from the wide areas, and Callum had his one-v-one and his chance from Maxi’s (Allan Saint-Maximin) cross. I thought he looked bright as well.

“They contributed to our best spell of the game, immediately when they came onto the pitch. It’s a massive boost for everybody connected with Newcastle to see them back. They’re two huge players for us."