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Opinion

Callum Wilson injury – Steve Bruce accused and the evidence

3 months ago
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On Saturday afternoon, Callum Wilson was forced out of the action on 36 minutes with a hamstring problem.

Javier Manquillo having 12 minutes earlier been subbed, as an ankle injury prevented him continuing.

Then with 79 minutes on the clock, Fabian Schar stretchered off the pitch due to a knee issue.

Steve Bruce reflecting on the injury problems which diluted the pleasure of taking all three points:

“It [players missing] has hampered us all season, whether it has been illness or injuries.

“[Javier] Manquillo looks like he has done his ankle ligaments.

“Fabian Schar looks in a bad way with his knee, that could be pretty serious.

“Callum Wilson [with a hamstring injury] is another where we don’t know how bad it is.

“The amount of games we are playing is ridiculous…with the amount of games that [so many injuries] is what we are seeing.”

It is certainly true that many injuries are unavoidable, they just happen, a bit like Schar and Manquillo yesterday, but then it is also true that some clubs / managers look after their players better than others, helping to minimise the overall number of injuries.

There have been some bizarre decisions made by Newcastle United and Steve Bruce (and Mike Ashley).

Newcastle United allowed Florian Lejeune to be sent out on loan last summer, with no replacement brought in, despite much talk of one arriving.

Even more incredibly, DeAndre Yedlin was given away on Monday to Galatasary on a free transfer, just so Mike Ashley could save on the final five months worth of wages on his contract. Quite mad, in a relegation fight and no replacement brought in, Steve Bruce actually having made Yedlin his first choice right-back in a run from December 2020 into January 2021, the USMNT international starting five of six PL games before the club made a visa blunder that forced him out of the team for a couple of games, only to then give him away!

Now we are left with the considerable worry of Emil Krafth, who is nowhere near Premier League quality, as the only right-back available for the rest of the season.

However, it is the injury to Callum Wilson that really gets the alarm bells ringing in terms of how Steve Bruce has handled (mishandled?) Newcastle United’s only quality striker and goalscorer.

Callum Wilson turns 29 in 20 days times and has had a career badly affected by injury, including in that, a large number of absences due to hamstring problems.

Can Steve Bruce really say that he has done everything to look after Newcastle’s most valuable player? Bruce having declared yesterday: ‘Callum Wilson [with a hamstring injury] is another where we don’t know how bad it is. The amount of games we are playing is ridiculous…with the amount of games that [so many injuries] is what we are seeing.’

As always with the NUFC Head Coach, he talks about things as though he has no influence or impact on them…

These are Newcastle United’s last nine Premier League matches:

30 December 2020 – Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0

3 January 2021 – Newcastle 1 Leicester 2

12 January 2021 – Sheff Utd 1 Newcastle 0

18 January 2021 – Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0

23 January 2021 – Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0

26 January 2021 – Newcastle 1 Leeds 2

30 January 2021 – Everton 0 Newcastle 2

2 February 2021 – Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 2

6 February 2021 – Newcastle 3 Southampton 2

Before being forced off after 36 minutes yesterday, do you want to hazard a guess at how many of these nine PL matches Callum Wilson started?

That’s right, every single one of them.

Making matters worse, he played every single second of all nine, until forced off against Southampton.

The nine matches were 38 days apart, the last seven of them only 25 days apart from first to last.

What was Steve Bruce playing at? Especially when he has so many other attacking alternatives available, none of them as good as Callum Wilson BUT you have to look after your star asset, the one who had been directly involved in 15 of the 22 PL goals scored before yesterday.

Looking back at some of these games it gets even more crazy that he was kept on the pitch every match until the bitter end. Newcastle were 3-0 down at Arsenal after 60 minutes, 2-0 down at Villa after 42 minutes, surely Callum Wilson should have been taken out of the firing line and rested for the final half hour or so of these matches, at the very least?

Dwight Gayle hasn’t been given a single Premier League start this season by Steve Bruce and was sitting on the bench in eight of these last nine NUFC PL games, yet never once was he subbed on for Callum Wilson, indeed, Gayle only getting 36 minutes in total in these nine matches.

Obviously the likes of Joelinton and Andy Carroll both sitting on the bench as well, game after game, instead of giving Callum Wilson the odd shift off.

After picking up this hamstring injury, Callum Wilson has sent a message via Twitter to Newcastle fans: ‘I will be working hard to get back on the pitch ASAP!’

Players such as Callum Wilson will always want to play every minute of every game. However, it is up to the manager (head coach) to make the difficult decisions and look after your best players. Yes you want your best players on the pitch as much as possible BUT you also have to accept that at times you need to rest them to ensure they perform at the highest level possible and stay free from injury as much as possible.

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