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'A difficult one for everyone' - Howe responds to criticism over refusal to answer questions about Newcastle's Saudi owners

1:34 PM EDT 3/16/22
Eddie Howe Newcastle 2021-22
The Magpies boss defended himself against criticism for avoiding discussing the executions that took place in Saudi Arabia

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says he does not feel qualified to answer questions about the actions of his club's Saudi owners.

Howe has faced criticism in recent days over his refusal to discuss the recent executions that took place in Saudi Arabia.

But the coach maintains he is doing what is best for his team when he side-steps such talking points.

What has been said?

"It’s not uncomfortable to be asked, I understand you need to ask. But it’s my right to answer how I feel is right for myself and for Newcastle," he said.

"At the moment it's to give you as much as I can without going into an area that's not best for me to go into. If I do, the team may suffer.

"I was a footballer with a slight difference. I got on the team bus aged 19 with a copy of The Times under my arm. I got strange looks from my teammates. But I came from a family where things were pushed towards me. I was interested in world politics at that stage."

He continued: "In the modern world part of my job is to know what's going on around the world and I'm reading up on that.

"It's a difficult one for everyone concerned. I understand the questions have to be asked, I've got no problem with that.

"From my perspective - and I've always maintained this - my specialist subject is football. It's what I know, it's what I've trained to do."

Howe added: "As soon as I deviate from that into an area where I don't feel qualified to have a huge opinion, I think I go into dangerous ground, so I prefer to stick to what I believe I know.

"I'm hugely proud to represent this football club and the supporters and the city and I'm trying to create a team the city can be proud of, and all my energy is going into that and will continue to."

What next for Newcastle?

Despite the attention to issues surrounding their owners, Newcastle have been in good form recently.

Until their weekend loss to Chelsea, they were unbeaten in the Premier League in 2022 and clawed their way up the table.

They now sit 14th and nine points clear of the relegation zone and are looking to widen the gap when they face struggling Everton on Thursday.

Their next game after that is against Tottenham on April 3.

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