The Spanish full-back and Japanese striker failed to make our 18-man squad over the weekend, with both managing just three Premier League starts between them all season.
Bruce insists they’ve ‘done nothing wrong’, however, asking both to look at Ciaran Clark’s rise from sixth choice centre-back to first-team star in recent weeks as proof they can still make an impact this season:
“I’m leaving out people like Javier Manquillo, who’s done nothing wrong, Yoshinori Muto, who’s done nothing wrong.
“It’s the difficult part of it.
“All you can say to them is, ‘take your chance’, & Ciaran is the prime example of it. He’s done remarkable well coming from nowhere.”
“He trains every day, works hard every day, great pro and when you somebody getting the winner like he did for where he was probably six weeks ago not travelling with us, fair play to him.”
Muto scored in a rare Carabao Cup start against Leicester in August and looked lively, but he’s been named in Bruce’s XI just twice all season – something that’s been a theme for him since he arrived last summer.
With Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Atsu, Gayle and Carroll all ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s hard to know where his next start is coming from – and the same can be said for Manquillo with Yedlin playing well and Krafth signed over the summer.
Hopefully they can take their chance if and when it comes (perhaps in the FA Cup), but I really can’t see them earning a regular place in our side anytime soon.
Then again, I probably said the same about Ciaran Clark a few months ago, and look at him go!