JOHN Beresford says there should be a swing to the left on Tyneside.
The ex-Newcastle United defender believes the team’s “weakness” last season was a lack of balance.
Beresford feels Alan Pardew’s side needs more left-footed players.
Davide Santon and Jonas Gutierrez, both right-footed, were Pardew’s favoured combination on the left side of his team, which finished the Premier League season in 16th place.
And Beresford – who spent six years at St James’s Park in the 1990s – thinks this needs to be addressed.
“The main problem, for me, was the side was unbalanced,” said Beresford. “Both Santon and Gutierrez played most games on the left, yet are naturally right-footed players.
“They kept coming inside, and that’s something I don’t like to see too much. It can be good to do it every so often, not every single time because it’s easier to defend.
“You can just about get away with a winger being right-footed on the left sometimes because they can cut in and put in crosses, although I would much prefer to see a left-footed guy there, but not at full-back.
“Having two naturally right-footed guys on the left slows things down.
“You can’t open up the game, because you’re literally coming in on to your right foot all the time.
“Teams figured them out pretty quickly. You only had to watch Newcastle a few times to realise where the weakness was.
“It’s nothing huge in terms of what has to be done to fix it, but I would like to see more balance.”
Beresford, a key member of Kevin Keegan’s famous “Entertainers” team, had hoped the club would build on its success the previous year, when it finished fifth.
A lack of squad depth, a run of injuries and the toll taken by the Europa League were cited by Pardew as contributory factors to the club’s domestic failings.
Beresford is hopeful the club, having taken a step back, will be able to take two strides forward next term.
“From a Newcastle point of view, everything went right in the previous season,” he said. “Nothing went their way last time.
“The squad was better in 2011-12, that’s the thing. The last season was a massive learning curve for everyone at Newcastle.
“I think, and hope, it could be a good step back to take two steps forward.
“New signings do need to be made. I’d like to see a centre-half bought this summer, and another striker.
“The team does need a bit of fine tuning. I’m sure Alan knows this.”