Earlier this week, a report in the Daily Star had suggested that Steve Bruce was looking at options to “stiffen” his midfield after the poor showing against Brighton last Saturday.
One option Bruce was considering, according to the report, was playing Fabian Schar in an anchor role and bringing Federico Fernandez into the backline. We are not sure what that would do to the formation, but it would presumably result in Bruce transiting to a back four.
That report, however, may have been a little wide of the mark. Steve Bruce has given an exclusive interview with Sky Sports in which he was asked about moving the Swiss defender into the midfield. This was Bruce’s response.
“I’m sure he could [play in midfield]. I’ve never really looked at it though.
“He’s a center-back and because he’s very good on the ball people are obviously speculating about it. At a push, I’m sure he could go into midfield, but I think he’s a central defender.”
It doesn’t look like Steve is considering this move from these remarks. He, obviously, recognizes that Fabian could play a midfield role. But it seems like he would only move him further forward if forced due to injuries.
Fabian Schar– scoring against Watford
We checked Schar’s playing history at club level and did find one instance when Schar played an anchor role in the midfield. While with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, Fabian played defensive midfield in a 1-0 victory against Wolfsburg in March of 2016.
While it’s easy to speculate how a player will respond when moving to an unfamiliar role, Schar already plays a vital role at Newcastle. We don’t think moving him into the midfield is necessary at this point. Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff are more than capable as a midfield pairing for Newcastle. A lot of the issues at Brighton might have been less drastic if Longstaff was involved in the game.
He looks set to return at Leicester City on Sunday. In both of Newcastle’s dreadful performances this season, the 22-year-old was missing in some aspect. He was injured against Brighton while only coming on at Norwich City as a substitute. We hope to see a much-improved performance against Leicester City with Sean in the team.
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