According to the Northern Echo, Steve Bruce has been ‘extremely disappointed’ by Ki Sung-Yeung, with him particularly critical of the South Korean’s cameo at Leicester.
The same piece also reveals that first-team duo Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden have been warned to up their game, with the NUFC head coach expected to go with the Matty and Sean Longstaff once again ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
As for Ki, it’s hard to see a way back for him at Newcastle United. He’s not been particularly bad, but with his contract expiring next summer and him appearing to be our fifth choice midfielder as things stands, it feels like he’s on his way out.
He’s a tidy player, but his lack of intensity off the ball has been noticeable in his two appearances against Norwich and Leicester, with opposition players regularly bypassing him in the middle.
Scott Wilson – the Northern Echo’s Chief Sports Writer – also suggests that Ki and Shelvey’s lack of energy and mobility have also seen them slip down the pecking order under Bruce – who wants his midfield to adopt a ‘harrying and pressing approach’.
With this in mind, you can see exactly why the 58-year-old has given Matty Longstaff a chance, with him not only having endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm off the ball, but surprising confidence and quality on it.
Matty has a long way to go, so we can’t get carried away, but he and Sean fully deserve another chance to show what they can do in the heart of our midfield this weekend.
Hayden – one of our most consistent players in 2019 – will be knocking on the door when he returns from suspension next month, but Shelvey and Ki need to seriously up their game if they plan to get their place in the starting 11 back.