With Isaac Hayden’s season-ending injury leaving a gaping hole in our midfield, we wait to see who Steve Bruce will select when Spurs come to town this Sunday.
It’s clear to me that one of the two Longstaff’s should be selected, yet Bruce’s decision to freeze both out of the first-team picture has now come back to haunt him just when we need both to be firing on all cylinders.
When players aren’t involved for so long – Sean has played 14 minutes of football over the past two months – they often take a game or two to readjust. In our current precarious predicament, we can’t afford to do that. To me the obvious replacement for Hayden is Matty. But then I’m not Bruce!
With Hayden joining an injury list as long as a COVID jab waiting line we need to consider the options. Please don’t let it be Jeff Hendrick! I don’t like calling out players’, but he’s offered next to nothing.
When Hendrick was at Burnley he fitted into their system and looked a decent Premiership player. Getting him on a free last summer looked a good bit of business especially after the first game at West Ham. Sadly, we soon found out why Burnley weren’t unhappy to lose him.
Now, for me, he should be as far away from the first-team picture as his “mate” Jonjo Shelvey. Picking these two time after time from Bruce smacks to me as a “tactic” that offers more of a hope than a purpose. It’s clear to me that Bruce keeps picking them on past reputation.
That reputation often emphasised and promoted by out of touch pundits and commentators who seem to think that they are both more than capable and in Shelvey’s case some sort of saviour of a player that splits defences open at will.
We simply have to change things up against Spurs, no question. Freezing out the two Longstaff brothers has backfired big time now Hayden is out for the season. One of them should now be coming in, fully fit and raring to go for the remainder of the season.
But the reality is they’ve barely played in months and appear to be behind Hendrick in the pecking order! It’s time for Bruce to swallow any pride he’s got left and look for players that will give their all for the shirt. The Longstaffs will, so will Ritchie and even Carroll!
And Carroll is someone I’ve been dead set against and don’t even think he should’ve got an extension last summer. Two wins in twenty clearly shows that the players Bruce appears to trust are not the ones that will get us out of this mess. Perhaps the ones he doesn’t trust won’t either but can they be any worse?
Now, he might surprise us and bring one or even both of them back into the team, but if he does as I’ve mentioned, they won’t be match fit and will suddenly be under pressure to fill Hayden’s big boots. But, what’s the alternative? Mr Anonymous Jeff Hendrick and Mr Lazy Jonjo Shelvey!