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Opinion

Need to reserve judgement as Steve Bruce missing five of his best Newcastle United players

5 months ago
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Steve Bruce has been getting a lot of stick, much of it justifiably so.

Newcastle fans not happy from the start, as a top class manager was replaced by a second class head coach.

Bruce’s friends in the media have done their best to try and paper over the cracks.

Dismal football most of the time, so so negative, with little clue as to what he is trying to do.

The saving grace is that Steve Bruce has carried the luck and as they say, better to be lucky than good…

To have nine points is quite remarkable based on what we have seen, I would say four or five points at the most have been deserved on the level of performance in the opening 10 games.

Despite all my misgivings about Bruce, I do think we need to give it time.

It isn’t that I think he is going to suddenly transform into a decent manager/coach, just I think Newcastle are missing some of their best players and we should wait and see what happens once they are playing. The thing is as well, we are just going to get somebody similar to Steve Bruce as well, at least whilst Mike Ashley is still here.

There are five players currently unavailable who I think could potentially transform the team.

I see it as a bit like some of the time when Alan Pardew was manager, occasionally Newcastle looked very decent BUT it was despite Pardew being manager and not because of it. In other words, the players were good enough and had enough collective experience to sort it on the pitch themselves, the likes of Krul, Coloccini, Simpson, Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse and Ba.

Not that I think we have that kind of pool of talent in this current NUFC squad BUT more than enough to not be playing as abysmally as this and to be well away from relegation trouble.

I think this team would do fine, when/if the players are available:

Dubravka

Yedlin

Schar

Lascelles

Lejeune

Ritchie

Hayden

Sean Longstaff

Saint-Maximin

Almiron

Carroll

Last season, that was by far the best defence, in my opinion Schar and Lejeune are Newcastle’s two best defenders and indeed two best players. They are both excellent at passing and bringing the ball out of defence, unlike Lascelles, Clark and Fernandez who played on Sunday.

Matt Ritchie is also a key player, he tied down that left hand side when excelling at wing-back last season.

Likewise, Hayden and Sean Longstaff were excellent together last season in that brief run of games before the latter got injured. I think Sean Longstaff is gradually now getting back to full fitness and with Hayden champing at the bit now free from suspension they can get back to that form of last season. To be honest, like everybody else I would love Matty Longstaff to make it but certainly these last two games he has shown me nothing to suggest he might. He did well against that weak Man Utd side as did most of our players but as we have seen, Chelsea and Wolves have given him the run around.

Up front, I think in the short to medium-term, Andy Carroll could do a great job with his experience. Once he shakes off this minor injury, let’s take Joelinton out of the firing line and get an hour or so out of Carroll each game then use the Brazilian as an impact sub. Even knocking it long, Carroll will be able to hold the ball up and get us building attacks.

I would also get ASM and Almiron on their proper sides, the Paraguayan clearly hates it and is wasted stuck out on the right wing.

Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce have produced a right mess between them but just maybe we do actually have the players already here who can dig them out of it.

A major problem has been too many players with not enough experience, especially of the Premier League.

When the season kicked off, the likes of Willems, Krafth, Almiron, ASM, Joelinton, Sean Longstaff and Matty Longstaff, had no more than 20 PL starts between them. Then having Steve Bruce to ‘organise’ them has just ensured total chaos.

The likes of Ritchie, Schar, Carroll, Lejeune and Hayden can get on the pitch and along with others get it sorted themselves, without interference from the dugout.

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