I always hesitate to slaughter managers and players when I write as I know that in reality, I couldn’t do a better job no matter how hard I tried. That said it doesn’t stop you from thinking it sometimes.
Wednesday night was another classic case. Bruce has talked about how he wants to make progress and grow the Club. Yet, his tactics and style seem at odds with that. Indeed, at times it seems that no-one on the pitch is clear as to what they should be doing.
Others have analysed the game and certain individuals but I want to take that a step further and ask about three players in particular with perhaps an honourable mention to another two. Come to think about it that might be a dishonourable mention!
These three for me have definitely regressed since a certain Spaniard left the Club.
I give you Sean Longstaff. A player that looks like he’s treading water. He’s no way near as reliable on the ball as he was, his eye for a goal seems to have disappeared and generally he’s just offering much less than he was.
I get that he had a bad injury and may not have fully recovered either fitness or confidence but he’s certainly a long way from the player that was supposedly attracting the attention of Man. Utd for a reportedly £25m+.
When that interest was supposedly at its peak no-one in Newcastle wanted to sell him. Perhaps now we’re wishing we did? I live in hope that he can regain the form and style that made him a coveted target. But, at the moment he’s going backwards.
Up next is Jamaal Lascelles. Pre-Bruce he was Captain Fantastic and whilst not perhaps close to an England call-up, he was at least in the discussions. He was another being linked with big money moves away and was Rafa’s flag bearer for NUFC.
But he’s not looking quite as convincing now, seems a bit ponderous at times, prone to picking up silly yellow cards and certainly not the commanding leader he seemed to be becoming. Maybe it’s down to the defence being more exposed, but still, he’s not progressing.
Finally, there’s Fabian Schar. He was genuinely thought of as one of our best players a couple of years ago and hailed as an absolute bargain. Classy on the ball and read the play so well and wasn’t to be messed with either.
I know he’s fighting back to fitness so it may be a bit harsh on him but the signs weren’t promising before the injury. Out of the frame and looked pretty dejected and a liability when he played over Project Restart looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in Newcastle.
Having not moved on and getting back to fitness it maybe that he’ll come again but again under Bruce can we be confident of that?
There are others and some that despite worrying performances seem to always curry favour with Bruce. But hopefully I’ve made my point and that’s Regression rather than Progression seems to be the order of the day.