Steve Bruce explains why he won’t play a striker – Bizarre
After over nine hours of watching on continuously from the bench this season, Dwight Gayle got seven minute of Premier League football last weekend.
Against a really poor and wide open Watford, Dwight Gayle watching on as Newcastle United created chance after chance and…wasted them.
Nobody surely more frustrated than Allan Saint-Maximin, his clever ball releasing teammates into great goalscoring positions but time after time wasted.
If only Newcastle United had a striker available…
Steve Bruce has been talking about Dwight Gayle ahead of today’s Wolves match, not by choice of course, instead it was when a journalist on Friday, quizzed the Newcastle United Head Coach as to why the striker isn’t getting a chance.
Similar questions have been asked this season previously and like before, yet again we got the same kind of nonsense response from the Head Coach….
Ahead of the Wolves game. Steve Bruce asked yet again why he won’t play a striker, why Dwight Gayle is ignored:
“I think it is just the way we have played.
“You know, the way the team has played.
“We have played a 4-3-3.
“It is just unfortunate that this is the formation that we have dropped into.
“But look, I have said many, many times…
“We all know Dwight’s capabilities and he has still got a big part to play.
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t played as often as he would like.
“That could go for two, three, four, five of the other players as well.”
It is ‘great’ how Steve Bruce speaks a lot of the time, as though decisions on how Newcastle play and who is in the team, are nothing to do with him.
He is right, Bruce has repeatedly talked up Dwight Gayle, right through these two and a quarter years since he (Bruce) arrived at Newcastle, yet he then repeatedly refuses to play the striker. When Callum Wilson is playing then fair enough BUT when Newcastle have no other strikers available, why does Steve Bruce still refuse to play Dwight Gayle? To make the whole situation even more laughable, Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley gave Dwight Gayle a new three year contract ahead of this season. In 15 days time Gayle turns 32, if Steve Bruce refuses to put the forward on the pitch now, what will be the case when Dwight Gayle is approaching 35 as his NUFC contract nears its end in 2024?
There have been 82 NUFC PL matches under Steve Bruce and Dwight Gayle has started just 14 of them. There were 10 PL starts and 4 goals in 2019/20 (Newcastle’s second top PL goalscorer that season!), but then only 4 PL starts and 1 goal last season despite Callum Wilson managing only 23 PL starts, with not a single PL start this season…even though once again Callum Wilson has been missing.
Steve Bruce claims it is all about Dwight Gayle not suiting his cunning set-up on the pitch, well surely having somebody who is likely to score goals is quite important as well…
Brucey has claimed how brilliant Newcastle have played (we haven’t) these last three games and yet only three goals have been scored and these have come via Manquillo’s first ever NUFC goal as he rampaged up the pitch, an ASM totally individual goal, then Sean Longstaff’s long range effort last weekend. Newcastle totally lacking somebody in the box to get on the end of things, especially games like Watford where for once under Bruce, NUFC had plenty of chances.
Needless to say, at no point has Joelinton ever looked close to scoring even when getting chances, only six goals in 75 PL appearances. You might as well be playing Fabian Schar up front, he has seven goals in 66 PL appearances as a defender.
However, the really big question that journalists shouldn’t allow Steve Bruce to wriggle off the hook on, is fair enough maybe not starting Dwight Gayle because he doesn’t suit Brucey’s ‘formation’…but what on earth is the justification for the stupidity of refusing to even bring him off the bench when time after time Newcastle are desperate for a goal?
These are the substitutions that have came off the bench so far in the Premier League matches:
Newcastle 2 West Ham 4 (Fraser 70, Sean Longstaff 84, Joelinton 85)
Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 (Sean Longstaff 46, Joelinton 77, Fraser 89)
Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 (Joelinton 67, Fraser 84)
Man Utd 4 Newcastle 1 (Murphy 77, Lewis 84, Hendrick 85)
Newcastle 1 Leeds 1 (Fraser 62, Krafth 81, Murphy 90+1)
Watford 1 Newcastle 1 (Murphy 79, Gayle 83)
Steve Bruce very reluctantly giving Dwight Gayle a full seven minutes at Watford, yes, a very generous SEVEN minutes in what I think was honestly a must win game, as Watford look stand out relegation candidates.
As well as Dwight Gayle getting only seven minutes in the six matches, you also have to wonder why Steve Bruce leaves it so late to make substitutions at all.
Especially when you consider West Ham went 4-2 up on 66 minutes, Villa 2-0 up on 62 minutes, Man Utd 2-1 up on 62 minutes and then 31 up on 80 minutes.
Against West Ham you didn’t see a striker (Joelinton!) introduced until the 85th minute, against Villa it was 77 minutes before any attacking change (Joelinton), whilst against Man Utd not a single attacking player brought on at all.
The home matches against Southampton and Leeds as well, yes NUFC got a point out of each but surely these were two of the most winnable games of the season, especially with the injury problems Leeds had at the back. Yet against Saints only one attacking change (Joelinton again!) before the 84th minute, then against Leeds you had Fraser on 62 minutes but then Krafth 81 minutes and Murphy not until a minute into injury time.
Why was Steve Bruce not going all out to win these games against Southampton and Leeds in the final stages and equally, what was there to lose in those three other matches when Newcastle were losing and desperate for goals?!!
Then of course Watford last Saturday, when Newcastle were creating and wasting chance after chance, yet Bruce leaves it until 83 minutes before bringing on his only available striker.
Dwight Gayle might not be a first choice Premier League striker in most people’s eyes BUT of all the options on the bench in every one of these six matches, surely everybody, apart from Steve Bruce, would say Gayle would be most likely to come on and get a goal.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]