Liverpool vs Newcastle: John Carver calls for fresh policy on recruitment

Carver's Newcastle take on Liverpool on Monday night

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The Independent Football

John Carver has told his employers at Newcastle United that the club’s recruitment policy needs to be changed to take more account of players’ character.

Currently Newcastle, under the instruction of their owner, Mike Ashley, look to sign bargains from abroad who have resale value. The players are scouted by Graham Carr and then handed over to whoever is head coach of the first team – until the end of the season, Carver.

For the first time in their history, the Magpies have lost five successive derbies to fierce rivals Sunderland and Carver, who must somehow lift those players against Liverpool at Anfield tonight, has admitted that key elements of character have sometimes been overlooked when potential signings are under consideration.

“If you’re dealing in the French market or the German market or the Spanish market, then it’s very difficult to find out a little bit about [players’] personality, about how they are around the place,” he said.

“It’s dead easy if you’re dealing with a British club. I could, say, pick up the phone to Steve Clarke at Reading and say, ‘What’s X, Y, or Z like?’ because you’ve got your own contacts.

“With the amount of foreign players coming in now, it’s a tougher situation, but you have to try and find out as much as you can about the player.


“There’s something in the make-up of this group – and I say within their DNA – that when it comes to a derby game, there’s something not right. No matter how hard you try and no matter what you try and do, it’s an issue.

“What I will say is that I’ve been delighted with their response [to] the disappointment. They’re hurting – and they should be hurting, as I am, as we all are. I’ve seen that, but actions speak louder than words.”

Stagnant since the turn of the year, when Carver took over from Alan Pardew, Newcastle have lost their last four games and won only two of their last 13.

Meanwhile, striker Daniel Sturridge believes that Liverpool can challenge for the title again next season despite failing this time around to build on last year’s runners-up spot.

Liverpool’s top-four hopes took a nosedive with defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal and, despite having an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to against Aston VIlla on Sunday, they seem likely to miss out on their main aim of Champions League football.

“We have not played as well as we have done in the last season but things change,” Sturridge said. “Of course, we aim to play well until the end of the season and next season we will, hopefully, be able to win the Premier League, not just get into the top four. We just need to start the season better than we did this season.

“Top four is still feasible. We have seven games left and anything is possible. Every game is important now. If we advance in the Cup we will have nine games and every one will be a cup final.”