Alan Shearer says the fact Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are still Newcastle’s central defenders is the biggest indictment of the club’s recruitment policy.
Newcastle edged closer to relegation with a feeble 3-1 defeat at Southampton on Saturday, a performance which contained yet more appalling defending, with Taylor substituted at half-time.
And club legend Shearer believes the Magpies woes are due to the club failing to sign players with the right mentality for a relegation battle.
“Recruitment has been a big problem at the club. Nobody can dispute that. It is the biggest reason for Newcastle’s decline since they finished fifth in the Premier League in 2012,” he told The Sun.
“Those that have been brought in at Newcastle have either not been good enough for Premier League football or not been up for the challenge.
“It is all well and good having ability but ability alone in a relegation scrap is not enough. You need characters that are going to fight.”
Newcastle spent almost £30million on players in January, signing the likes of England internationals Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend.
But Shearer is astounded the club failed to bring in any defenders, opting instead to sign attackers such as Roma striker Seydou Doumbia, who has gone on to play only 29 minutes of Premier League football.
“It is also staggering that a centre-half was not signed in January given how they have struggled defensively all season — conceding 61 goals in 32 league matches,” he added.
“Even last summer, only DR Congo star Chancel Mbemba came in and, having played OK early on, he has also looked out of sorts in recent games.
“It says it all that Steven Taylor, who was hooked at half-time at Southampton, and Fabricio Coloccini, who was playing every week before his injury, were two of the centre-halves I had as manager when we were relegated in 2009.
“That alone tells you that centre-half is a position that has not been properly addressed in seven years.”