Steve Bruce has revealed how he’s been left “pleasantly surprised” by Christian Atsu – claiming the winger has ‘wowed’ him and his coaching staff in training.
The Ghanaian has often struggled to have any major impact on games following our promotion back to the Premier League, however he’s been one of our brightest players in our last three fixtures and has clearly caught Steve Bruce’s eye.
Not only did he do a brilliant job after replacing an injured Saint-Maximin at Spurs two weeks ago, he was arguably our most lively attacking outlet against Watford, getting him into some good attacking positions, looking after the ball well and combining well with Jetro Willems at times.
As a result, Bruce has spoken highly of him during the international break, telling BBC Radio Newcastle just how good he’s been – both in games and on the training field:
Well, I was delighted with him.
“I hadn’t seen him train until last week and, all of a sudden, in training, we’re thinking ‘wow, wow – he’s a bit different, he’s a bit different to what we’ve got’ and he pleasantly surprised us.
“And then, of course, he took his training sessions into the game on Sunday (at Spurs) and when we’re all disappointed with Allan (Saint-Maximin) coming off, I thought he was terrific in his attitude to stay on the ball, to work with it, and did very, very well.”
Hats off to Atsu.
He’s taken plenty criticism and must improve his goal/assist return (especially now we’ve lost Perez), but his all round play, his willingness on and off the ball and his improved attacking threat has been much better in the last few weeks.
Let’s hope he can keep it up and even add a goal or two to his tally – especially now we’re set to be without Saint-Maximin for the rest of the month at least.