Wed 5 Jul 2023, 11:28 · NUFC News

Four NUFC players featured in ESPN's "FC 100 for 2023"

Four NUFC players featured in ESPN's "FC 100 for 2023"
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Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimarães, and Alexander Isak all feature in the 2023 ESPN FC 100, which is a positional breakdown of the best players in world football.

ESPN claims that its FC 100 list "gives each position their due and gives readers the closest thing to a position-by-position depth chart across world football".

Pope ranks #10 in the world at goalkeeper, with his transfer from Burnley last summer being hailed as one of the "best moves" made by any Premier League side. ESPN writer Bill Connelly outlines how Pope saved 73% of shots on target last season and "continued his evolution into one of the more well-rounded keepers in the world's best league".

Of all Premier League shot-stoppers, only Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa (#9), Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal (#8), Ederson of Manchester City (#7), and Álisson of Liverpool (#3) appear above Pope. Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid heads the list and Jordan Pickford is nowhere to be seen. Shame.

Trippier is considered to have been the #2 right-back in the world in 2023, the highest ranking of any Newcastle United player on ESPN's list. Only beaten to the number one spot by Achraf Hakimi of Paris Saint-Germain, Trippier is ahead of England colleagues Kyle Walker (#3), Reece James (#4), and Trent Alexander-Arnold (#6).

Recognising our on-field captain as a "transformative signing", ESPN writer Rob Dawson highlights how only Alexander-Arnold and his Liverpool colleague Andrew Robertson provided more assists from full-back in the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.

In central midfield, Guimarães is considered #10 in the world in an all-star cast that includes Premier League colleagues Alexis Mac Allister of Liverpool (#7), Casemiro of Manchester United (#6), and Manchester City's Rodri (#2). Unsurprisingly, Jude Bellingham, now of Real Madrid, is the writers' number-one choice here.

ESPN's James Tyler credits Bruno for both his attacking and defensive contributions and also recognises his ability to do things with the ball that other midfielders cannot or simply will not. Calling him a "player who makes things happen", Tyler is effusive in his praise for our Brazilian #39 and feels he's set for even bigger things in 2023/24.

Up front, Isak is ranked #8 out of all strikers in the world. Erling Haaland slots in as an obvious #1, but we're not sure that Gabriel Jesus (#6) and Randal Kolo Muani (#7) merit places ahead of our ice-cool Swede on the list. It's harder to argue against the legendary trio of Karim Benzema (#2), Harry Kane (#3), and Robert Lewandowski (#5), though.

Rob Dawson explains the Isak pick with a reference to the assist of the season at Everton and also brings up the comparisons with the great Thierry Henry that cropped up more and more in 2022/23. Tantalisingly, Dawson also notes that there's a feeling around St. James' Park that Isak, much like Sam Fender, is only just getting started.

Let's just gloss over the fact that Eddie Howe is nowhere to be seen in the manager list, despite Roberto De Zerbi (#8), Erik ten Hag (#7), Jürgen Klopp (#5), and Mikel Arteta (#4) all featuring, shall we?

The criminally underrated Fabian Schär does get a shoutout in the centre-backs section when Bill Connelly is discussing Napoli's Kim Min-Jae, though, which is good to see. "Here's a complete list of defenders in Europe's Big Five leagues who A) recorded at least 210 ball recoveries, B) won at least 60% of their duels and C) contributed at least four combined league goals and assists: Newcastle's Fabian Schär and Min-Jae."

Club-wise only Manchester City (12), Arsenal (seven), Liverpool (five), and Manchester United (five) have more players in the list than Newcastle from the Premier League. Chelsea only have two and Spurs have just one. The "Big Six" has truly become the "Big Seven", and almost overnight.

Here's the full list by position, going from back to front:

Goalkeepers

RankPlayerClub/Country
#1Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid/Belgium
#2Marc-André Ter StegenBarcelona/Germany
#3ÁlissonLiverpool/Brazil
#4Mike MaignanAC Milan/France
#5Jan OblakAtlético Madrid/Slovenia
#6Gianluigi DonnarummaParis Saint-Germain/Italy
#7EdersonManchester City/Brazil
#8Aaron RamsdaleArsenal/England
#9Emiliano MartínezAston Villa/Argentina
#10Nick PopeNewcastle United/England

Right-backs

RankPlayerClub/Country
#1Achraf HakimiParis Saint-Germain/Morocco
#2Kieran TrippierNewcastle United/England
#3Kyle WalkerManchester City/England
#4Reece JamesChelsea/England
#5Jules KoundéBarcelona/France
#6Trent Alexander-ArnoldLiverpool/England
#7João CanceloManchester City/Portugal
#8Dani CarvajalReal Madrid/Spain
#9Giovanni Di LorenzoNapoli/Italy
#10
Jeremie FrimpongBayer Leverkusen/Netherlands

Centre-backs

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Rúben DiasManchester City/Portugal
#2
Joško GvardiolRB Leipzig/Croatia
#3
David AlabaReal Madrid/Austria
#4
William SalibaArsenal/France
#5
Éder MilitãoReal Madrid/Brazil
#6
Ronald AraújoBarcelona/Uruguay
#7
Virgil Van DijkLiverpool/Netherlands
#8
Lisandro MartínezManchester United/Argentina
#9
Alessandro BastoniInter Milan/Italy
#10
Kim Min-JaeNapoli/South Korea

Left-backs

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Alphonso DaviesBayern Munich/Canada
#2
Théo HernandezAC Milan/France
#3
Oleksandr ZinchenkoArsenal/Ukraine
#4
Andrew RobertsonLiverpool/Scotland
#5
Nathan AkéManchester City/Netherlands
#6
Luke ShawManchester United/England
#7
Pervis EstupiñánBrighton & Hove Albion/Ecuador
#8
Alejandro BaldeBarcelona/Spain
#9
Raphaël GuerreiroBayern Munich/Portugal
#10
Leonardo SpinazzolaAS Roma/Italy

Central Midfielders

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Jude BellinghamReal Madrid/England
#2
RodriManchester City/Spain
#3
PedriBarcelona/Spain
#4
İlkay GündoğanBarcelona/Germany
#5
Luka ModrićReal Madrid/Croatia
#6
CasemiroManchester United/Brazil
#7
Alexis Mac AllisterLiverpool/Argentina
#8
Joshua KimmichBayern Munich/Germany
#9
Frenkie De JongBarcelona/Netherlands
#10
Bruno GuimarãesNewcastle United/Brazil

Attacking Midfielders

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1Kevin De BruyneManchester City/Belgium
#2
Martin ØdegaardArsenal/Norway
#3
Bernardo SilvaManchester City/Portugal
#4
Jamal MusialaBayern Munich/Germany
#5
Bruno FernandesManchester United/Portugal
#6
Julian BrandtBorussia Dortmund/Germany
#7
GaviBarcelona/Spain
#8
Brahim DíazAC Milan/Spain
#9
Lucas PaquetáWest Ham United/Brazil
#10
Nicolò BarellaInter Milan/Italy

Wingers

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Bukayo SakaArsenal/England
#2
Khvicha KvaratskheliaNapoli/Georgia
#3
Jack GrealishManchester City/England
#4
Ousmane DembéléBarcelona/France
#5
Gabriel MartinelliArsenal/Brazil
#6
Riyad MahrezManchester City/Algeria
#7
Kingsley ComanBayern Munich/France
#8
RodrygoReal Madrid/Brazil
#9
Phil FodenManchester City/England
#10
Moussa DiabyBayer Leverkusen/France

Forwards

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Kylian MbappéParis Saint-Germain/France
#2
Vinícius JúniorReal Madrid/Brazil
#3
Lionel MessiInter Miami/Argentina
#4
Mohamed SalahLiverpool/Egypt
#5
Antoine GriezmannAtlético Madrid/France
#6
Marcus RashfordManchester United/England
#7
Rafael LeãoAC Milan/Portugal
#8
Lautaro MartínezInter Milan/Argentina
#9
Christopher NkunkuChelsea/France
#10
NeymarParis Saint-Germain/Brazil

Strikers

RankPlayer
Club/Country
#1
Erling HaalandManchester City/Norway
#2
Karim BenzemaAl Ittihad/France
#3
Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur/England
#4
Victor OsimhenNapoli/Nigeria
#5
Robert LewandowskiBarcelona/Poland
#6
Gabriel JesusArsenal/Brazil
#7
Randal Kolo MuaniEintracht Frankfurt/France
#8
Alexander IsakNewcastle United/Sweden
#9
Dušan VlahovićJuventus/Serbia
#10
Jonathan DavidLOSC Lille/Canada

Managers

RankManager
Club or Country
#1
Pep GuardiolaManchester City
#2
Carlo AncelottiReal Madrid
#3
Luciano SpallettiNapoli
#4
Mikel ArtetaArsenal
#5
Jürgen KloppLiverpool
#6
Lionel ScaloniArgentina
#7
Erik ten HagManchester United
#8
Roberto De ZerbiBrighton & Hove Albion
#9
Simone InzaghiInter Milan
#10
XaviBarcelona

If you want to read the entire write-up for yourself, here's a link to the full ESPN FC 100 for 2023.