Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough all feature in this week's North East Notes:


Newcastle United are set for a couple of overseas trips this summer. Eddie Howe and his players will jet off to Australia later this month for exhibition games against Tottenham and an A-League All Stars team, and are set to head to Japan as part of their pre-season preparations in July.

However, there are also plans in place for some pre-season action closer to home, with St James’ Park set to stage the return of the Sela Cup.

Last summer, Newcastle won the inaugural edition of the tournament as they beat Fiorentina and Villarreal ahead of the start of the Premier League season.

The Sela Cup is set to return this August, forming the showpiece domestic event of the Magpies’ pre-season programme.

The opposition line-up is yet to be confirmed, but this time around, the competition will feature both men’s and women’s matches. Newcastle Women won promotion to the FA Women’s Championship this season, and the games in the Sela Cup will form a key part of Becky Langley’s side’s preparations for life in the second tier.


Newcastle is hosting an England double-header at the end of the season, with England Women taking on France in a Euros qualifier at St James’ Park on May 31 before Gareth Southgate’s men’s team play their penultimate game ahead of this summer’s Euros in the same stadium, taking on Bosnia on June 3.

However, while all eyes will be on Tyneside for the two matches, Middlesbrough have pulled off quite a coup as they will be playing host to the men’s team at Rockliffe Park in the week leading up to their game.

Rather than basing themselves in Newcastle, the FA have decided to head to Rockliffe, where the players will be closeted away in Rockliffe Hall while training at Middlesbrough’s neighbouring training ground.

Southgate, of course, has strong Boro links, having skippered the Teessiders to victory in the 2004 Carling Cup final, and his England side used Rockliffe as a base ahead of their warm-up matches against Austria and Romania which were played at the Riverside as part of the build-up to the delayed Euro 2020 tournament in 2021. 



It's looking increasingly unlikely that Danny Rohl will be Sunderland's next head coach.

The prospect of the German moving to the Stadium of Light has been a long shot since Sheffield Wednesday completed their remarkable escape from relegation on Wearside a week ago.

Wednesday are desperate to keep Rohl, who has made clear his desire to stay at the club providing he gets certain assurances.

Rohl held talks with Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri before heading off on an end of season holiday.

Hull City are also keen on the 35-year-old, however the Sheffield Star have now revealed that any club that wants to take Rohl must pay Wednesday £5m in compensation. The figure is said to be double if Rohl's close-knit coaching team was to go with him.


As revealed by the Northern Echo this week, Middlesbrough have opted against making Sam Greenwood's loan deal permanent.

The forward has now returned to Leeds United and faces an interesting summer.

If Leeds were to win promotion through the play-offs, Greenwood would receive a significant wage increase but game-time would be hard to come by at Elland Road in the top flight. The 22-year-old didn't feature in Daniel Farke's plans for life in the Championship, so the inevitable squad strengthening that would come with promotion would push him further down the pecking order.

If Leeds were to miss out on promotion, they'd face a real fight to hold on to the likes of Crysencio Summerville and Wilfriend Gnonto, so Greenwood would maybe get an opportunity to stake a claim. But he clearly has work to do to convince Farke.

What Greenwood can't afford is a year on the fringes. At 22, he surely needs to be establishing himself in a team. He looked to be doing that in an encouraging first half of his year on loan at the Riverside but disappointed in 2024 and Boro's decision not to make his deal permanent for a cut-price fee of £1.5m came as no surprise.

If Leeds are still willing to let him go for that sort of money this summer, could Sunderland be tempted in getting their former academy star back? He ticks a fair few Black Cats recruitment boxes and when he joined Boro last summer told of his delight at being back in the North-East.


Lewis O'Brien is another player who won't be turning a loan move into a permanent stay at Middlesbrough.

The midfielder joined Boro last summer desperate to "prove a point" after a miserable campaign at Nottingham Forest, but his hopes of impressing on Teesside were severely dented when he suffered a serious injury in the win at Watford back in September.

He did all his rehab at Boro and returned for the final months of the campaign, showing signs of the player who was one of the Championship's stand-out midfielders two seasons ago.

But the fact he was left out of the starting XI, despite his impressive form, for the final two games was, with hindsight, an indicator of what was to come. O'Brien's hefty Nottingham Forest salary was always going to make a permanent deal difficult and Boro are understood to be looking for a "different type" of midfielder this summer. Bolstering the midfield is a priority on Teesside.

They currently have three senior options in there with Dan Barlaser, Hayden Hackney - who they're determined to keep hold of this summer - and Jonny Howson, who recently signed a new one-year contract extension. Law McCabe also enjoyed a promising breakthrough this term.

Howson is as crucial as ever on the pitch and when he's absent he's sorely missed. It's not the first time this has been said, but it would be no surprise if Boro attempted to bring in a player with a similar skillset this summer to ensure there's a natural successor when the captain finally decides to hang up his boots.