EDDIE Howe says he "couldn't risk" playing any senior players after a young and inexperienced Newcastle United side were on the receiving end of an 8-0 hammering against the A-League All Stars in Melbourne.

Howe named a strong side for Wednesday's friendly against Tottenham but, as he'd revealed he would in advance, turned to the youngsters for Newcastle's second game in Australia.

And it turned out to be a humbling experience for a United side with an average of just 21.

Despite the scoreline, Howe insisted he was right to name such an inexperienced side. Newcastle's internationals left the camp after the Tottenham game and Howe said he couldn't risk his remaining senior players picking up injuries on the back of a long and gruelling season.

Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie are in Australia but haven't played in either game. Their future hangs in the balance and hinges on whether Manchester City beat Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final, which would secure European football for the Magpies and likely result in contract offers for the experienced pair.


Asked about his team selection against the All Stars, Howe said: "The injury risk is too high, especially with the travelling and the game the other day. I couldn't bring them (the senior players) on today, I couldn't expose them to that, especially right at the end of the season, we'd kick ourselves if we got injuries.

"It did make it difficult for the young guys because they brought subs on and our players were tired. I wouldn't read too much into the scoreline, it's all about their development and making sure they grow from these experiences."

Howe added: "That was a tough one for the lads. You could see the difference, more physically. The experience and strength against our lads was probably too much.

"The lads have to look at this and go where am I individually? Am I close to the level needed to be. The majority will probably say they weren't today.

"There are contributing factors to that. They have travelled like everyone else but still you have to pride yourselves on being better than they were today.

"All I ask is for them to go away and reflect on that and learn from it. The game can be very difficult at times.

"The All Stars were very good, they kept going right to the end and some of our lads were out on their feet by 70 minutes. There's a lot of physical work to be done."