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Opinion

Fabian Schar standing by as Newcastle United set to be missing four midfielders on Sunday

6 days ago
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Fabian Schar was outstanding in 2o18/19, for many Newcastle fans he was player of the season.

An excellent defender, superb at bringing / playing the ball out of defence, as well as the scorer of some cracking goals, four in the Premier League last season.

No surprise when the North East football writers voted Fabian Schar their player of the year at an awards ceremony in January 2020.

However, Steve Bruce doesn’t seem quite so impressed.

Despite a shocking run of form for NUFC in early 2020, only one win in 10 Premier League matches, Fabian Schar has only started one PL game since New Year’s day.

Steve Bruce instead naming the Swiss international repeatedly on the bench. Maybe with Bruce wanting to play such negative tactics for most of the season, maybe a quality ball playing centre-back doesn’t fit his ideas of what he wants.

Since the restart nothing has changed, Fabian Schar got five minutes as a sub for Shelvey against Sheffield United but didn’t even get onto the pitch against Villa, Steve Bruce only using four subs as well in the poor 1-1 draw.

However, just maybe that is all set to change, with Steve Bruce forced to play the talented defender BUT in a different position.

Jonjo Shelvey will start on Sunday but Isaac Hayden looks likely to be ruled out. Steve Bruce bizarrely playing exactly the same team on Wednesday, despite Newcastle realistically safe from relegation and this massive FA Cup game coming up, leading to injuries for both Hayden and Matt Ritchie, NUFC’s hardest working players who should have been protected from themselves for Sunday’s match.

Isaac Hayden didn’t look good as he limped off and personally, I just can’t see him being available to start against Man City.

Steve Bruce says he is waiting on how the Longstaff brothers come through training but admitted they are still big doubts.

Neither Matty or Sean have started a game for four months and neither have played a single minute in the pre-restart friendlies or the two games so far. They might possibly make the bench but I can’t see any way it makes sense for either brother to be considered to start, even if passed fit.

Then you have Nabil Bentaleb. I’m surprised that there has been so little coverage given to the fact that the loan midfielder is suspended for Sunday. Yellow cards against West Brom and Oxford means that he misses Man City.

So bottom line, I think every chance there will be four midfielders all unavailable to start tomorrow.

Step forward Fabian Schar.

He has played in midfield for both club and country before and no reason he can’t excel there for Newcastle United.

If the four midfielders are missing, it is difficult to see what other options there would even be.

I wouldn’t put him in there but Matt Ritchie would be a possible for some. However, he is also a big fitness doubt anyway as well, plus if he can play, we need him out on the wing working up and down the pitch.

So an interesting team selection to come and despite his limited game time, Fabian Schar is also Newcastle’s (joint) third top PL scorer this season with two goals, so just maybe playing further up the pitch he could help out on that front as well, particularly his willingness to shoot from outside the box.

For Fabian Schar, 2020 could still yet be his year.

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