Speaking at today’s press conference, the NUFC boss has suggested that he’ll no longer play the 24-year-old in that lone striker role that he “doesn’t enjoy”, accepting that he’s much better with a partner to play alongside.
This has already proved fruitful, with our £40m man bagging two assists and a goal when playing just off Callum Wilson in our last two games.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say about him in today’s press conference:
“I think we have learned a lesson.
“He enjoys playing with someone else, he doesn’t enjoy being the focal point.”
“There’s no disputing it’s been difficult for the lad, but he’s never shirked it, never made an excuse, and there were moments he was on the ropes but he kept that desire.”
A simple observation, and probably something he should’ve picked up on a long time ago, however it’s good to see Bruce is finally starting to appreciate how he can get the best out of the former Bundesliga star.
Although Bruce is not to blame for the club paying far too much for a talented yet unproven player who was never a natural No 9, it has taken him a while to find a position and style of play that suits him.
He was never a lone striker in Germany and never looked likely to become one in his first season at St James’ Park.
Now he’s striking up a partnership with Callum Wilson and thriving in a role that sees him pick up the ball with the game ahead of him (not his back to goal!), we might just see a bit of consistency from the man who was involved in 20 goals (11 goals, 9 assists) for Hoffenheim across 2018/19!