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Steve Bruce sidekick: ‘I think he will be a terrific signing for us’

3 weeks ago
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No explanation why Steve Bruce didn’t speak after this latest friendly.

Instead, it was his sidekick, first team coach Steve Agnew, who spoke to Newcastle United’s official TV channel after the 2-1 win over Barnsley.

Andy Carroll and Jacob Murphy getting the goals.

Steve Agnew saying that Andy Carroll is looking ‘fit and lean’ and with two goals in the first two friendlies, the striker will be pleased with his contribution, both in terms of goals and all round play.

It is now only 13 days until Newcastle face West Ham and it feels like walking a tightrope with the only fit striker being Andy Carroll. No matter how fit he is, it is very difficult to put any great confidence in him staying that way, plus the fact is as well, Carroll hasn’t scored a Premier League goal for 29 months.

Jacob Murphy was the one who won and scored the penalty that meant Newcastle ran out 2-1 winners and Steve Agnew talked of a player with ‘genuine pace’ who was amongst the goals last season (nine for Sheff Wed).

Bruce’s sidekick appearing to indicate that Jacob Murphy will be part of the first team squad this coming season, rather than being loaned out: ‘A successful loan period and he has certainly taken the manager’s eye in this short pre-season so we will just keep on at Jacob to continue his work and I’m sure that he will be around it this season.’

As for new signing Jeff Hendrick, Agnew is convinced he will prove a great signing: ‘You can see he has got a good understanding of how to play the game, I think he will be a terrific signing for us.’

Interesting to hear Steve Agnew (on the left in photo above) talk about how important it is for new signings to come in and get to know how the team play and get used to playing in that system.

Due to it taking so long to complete the free signing, for whatever reasons, Jeff Hendrick only has a week with the NUFC squad before heading off with the Republic of Ireland, then only a few days after that back with Newcastle before the opening match against West Ham.

Agnes inadvertently pointing out that by leaving everything so late, even if Newcastle now make some credible signings, they will have next to no time in pre-season with NUFC, especially if they are internationals and set to be away with their national squads.

Steve Agnew speaking to NUFC TV:

“For a striker to score two in two, whether pre-season games or in the season, it is all positive really.

“Big Andy, we know his strengths, sometimes though he gets underestimated for his technical ability.

“When Jonjo [Shelvey] cut the ball back with his left foot, he [Andy Carroll] smashed it into the bottom corner, so he is in a good place.

“He has had a pre-season now and he looks fit and he looks lean and he will be pleased with his contribution in these two games and both goals.

“We knew that Barnsley after staying up in the Championship last season, would be a step up from Crewe, they press high and have a lot of  young lads.

“The wind was difficult for both teams, it was really blowy out there and keeping the ball and moving the ball across the pitch was difficult.

“From a positive point of view you know, we came through it.

“The aim was to give the lads, the vast majority of the squad, 60 minutes.

“We did a little bit more with Jonjo [Shelvey] and Isaac [Hayden] playing maybe 70/75 minutes, which was pleasing.

“The lads who came on had the 30 minutes.

“Towards the end we had one v ones with Almiron, with Allan Maximin, with Matt Ritchie.

“We had chances and Andy Carroll scored a terrific goal, great run forward by Jonjo Shelvey and great finish [by Andy Carroll] with his left foot.

“Then obviously Jacob [Murphy], he has genuine pace, had a good season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season.

“I think confidence is the key word.

“As I said earlier, he has got genuine pace and he also added goals to his game last season in the Championship, he finished with nine goals.

“A successful loan period and he has certainly taken the manager’s eye in this short pre-season so we will just keep on at Jacob to continue his work and I’m sure that he will be around it this season.

“Ultimately, we are two weeks away from West Ham and physically we feel we are in decent nick.

“Jeff [Hendrick] hasn’t played much football since March, he missed the back end of Burnley’s season but you can see in training he is a good footballer.

“He is really good condition physically and I think it is important like any new player when they come to a club, to fit in with his team-mates and how they play, where they play.

“You can see he has got a good understanding of how to play the game, I think he will be a terrific signing for us.”

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