Steve Bruce had to make some brave calls with his team selection against Manchester United. After the Leicester performance, a shake-up to the team was necessary.
It turned out that Bruce was spot on with the choices he made. Not necessarily with who was dropped but more so who was brought into the side.
Allan Saint-Maximin, DeAndre Yedlin, Matty Longstaff, and Ciaran Clark all came in after featuring minimally this season. It turned out that they all put in excellent performances and propelled the team to just their second win of the campaign.
One of the unfortunate casualties of Bruce’s need for change was local lad Paul Dummett. Dummett had a poor game at Leicester City playing at left-back, and in an instant, he was out of the Newcastle side.
Dummett had started the previous 7 matches in the league for Newcastle, all at center-back. He even put in a man of the match performance in our other win at Tottenham in August. Since Florian Lejeune’s injury last season, Paul had been a mainstay in the Newcastle side.
Prior to that he was our primary left-back when not sidelined through injury, which had interrupted previous runs in the team.
He was living his dream of playing week in and out for his hometown club. He had even given up international duty for Wales in August to ensure his fitness for Newcastle.
So it was definitely a disappointment for the 28-year-old to have been dropped against Manchester United. He has spoken to Chronicle about losing his place last week:
“Competition in any team is a big thing to have and I was obviously disappointed not to play but the main thing was the team put a good performance in.
“Especially after Leicester defeat – everyone on that pitch put on a good performance.
“I was gutted not play but Ciaran came into my position and did really well.
“So I know I just need to keep on working hard and trying to make sure I’m ready for my chance when it comes again.”
Paul is Newcastle through and through. While he was disappointed on a personal level, he would have been thrilled with what transpired on the pitch.
Ciaran Clark came in from the cold and slotted in nicely on the left side of the back three. He worked well with Jetro Willems to negate Manchester United attacks from that flank.
Paul continued to talk about how big the win was, and that ultimately, that is what is most important.
“It was a massive boost especially after the five-nil defeat against Leicester.
“It was important we bounced back with a performance, that was the most important thing and you know the win was even better.
“It had been a tough week of criticism from everyone but we got back on the training pitch and we had to make sure we worked hard.”
Paul knows all about the ebbs and flows of a season. While he will be disappointed at facing a spell on the sidelines, his name could be called at any moment. He will be ready to step back in and fight for the cause when it is.