If they stayed fit and played to their full potential, I’m sure many Toon fans would agree that Jamal Lewis and Ryan Fraser should be regular starters at Newcastle United.
Currently valued at a combined £22m by Transfermarkt, both arrived last summer and had difficult first seasons on Tyneside for different reasons.
Lewis looked badly lacking in confidence and Fraser struggled to stay fit, with some also questioning his commitment to the cause.
However, the Scot cut his post Euro 2020 holiday short to return to training on Tyneside and showed glimpses of his undoubted quality in pre-season. He scored at Doncaster, set up Wilson with a brilliant assist in the same game and also laid one on for Dwight Gayle in our final friendly of the summer against Norwich.
He’s not started either of our opening two Premier League games, however he looks set for a big chance to impress Steve Bruce in tonight’s Carabao Cup clash with Burnley.
Given Miguel Almiron has looked below his best in our opening two games and a little lost in this new system, Fraser has a huge opportunity to prove himself in this 5-3-2 formation.
Elsewhere, Jamal Lewis looks all set to come in for Matt Ritchie at left wing-back.
Ritchie is back in Bruce’s plans and a reliable pro in many respects, yet his lack of pace, inability to get up and down the line and defensive lapses have been a concern.
Lewis struggled in a four-man defence last season, but he could thrive – just as Jacob Murphy has – in this five-man defence that allows wing-backs to bomb on.
He’s quicker than Ritchie, has the energy to get up and down the line and the pace to cope with some of the wingers Ritchie just can’t live with, so tonight could be his chance to show Steve Bruce what he’s been missing. After all, he nearly joined Liverpool last year and is still only 23.
Having played just SIX minutes of Premier League football since a 1-1 draw with Wolves back in February, he – along with Fraser – will be desperate to impress tonight.
Let’s hope both do so, with Almiron and Ritchie needing to up their game to stay in Bruce’s starting XI moving forward.