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Bruce’s Rallying Call To Fringe Pair May Not Be Enough

One could say that Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez have been revelations since returning to the Newcastle team after a long run on the sidelines. However, that would not be completely accurate as both players have always put in the performances when called upon.

Their issue has been that Newcastle have some top center-backs ahead of them in Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune when fit.

After Newcastle’s win against Bournemouth, Steve Bruce cited Ciaran Clark as an example for two players currently experiencing a similar situation to the 30-year-old. Ciaran Clark had not featured for Newcastle since last January but once he got the nod against Manchester United he has cemented his place in the squad.

That is the message that Steve Bruce has for right-back Javier Manquillo and striker Yoshinori Muto – to seize the chance when it comes.

This is what Bruce had to say about Clark’s return to the fold.

“The one thing you want is competition and Ciaran was probably questioning why there were times when I didn’t pick him in the squad.

“I’m leaving out people like Javier Manquillo, who’s done nothing wrong, Yoshinori Muto, who’s done nothing wrong.

“It’s the difficult part of it. All you can say to them is, ‘Take your chance’, and Ciaran is the prime example of it.

“He’s done remarkably well coming from nowhere. I’m delighted for him.”

Both Manquillo and Muto have had some opportunities to shine this season. It only took one game for both Clark and Fernandez to make their mark. However, Manquillo and Muto did not take their chances when they came, limited though they have been.

Both Muto and Manquillo last featured in two of Newcastle’s worst performances of the year. Manquillo came back into the side against Brighton after not starting since the opener against Arsenal. He was extremely poor in that game, especially in the first half. He has not featured since and has been left out of the squad for the past five matches.

With the way DeAndre Yedlin has taken his chance, it could take some time before Manquillo gets another opportunity. He is now third choice behind Yedlin and Emil Krafth.

Similarly, Yoshinori Muto last played at Leicester City in Newcastle’s low point of the season. Muto started that match but did not make much of an impact. He had to be substituted for after Isaac Hayden was handed a straight red just before half time.

While Manquillo did get a run of games to end last season, Muto has not really ever had that chance at Newcastle. Manquillo played his best footbal for Newcastle to close last season and carried that form into the preseason.

For whatever the reason, that was interrupted when Steve Bruce brought in Emil Krafth for Norwich City. Manquillo then failed to take his chance against Brighton when given the nod.

Muto has just never been handed a run of games to show what he can do. While Manquillo has vast Premier League experience despite being just 25, Muto has very little and that has limited his opportunities.

We think the decision has been made on Manquillo as his contract runs out at the end of the season. He will likely be allowed to see out his contract without being offered a new one.

As for Muto, there is still a slight chance he can make it at Newcastle but it’s looking less and less likely with each passing week.

19 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #1

    I think we’ve got an excellent record at home against them but don’t think we fare too well down there, I’ve been twice now and got beat both times, hence I won’t be going in a couple of weeks.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #2

    You always feel with Manquillo that in there somewhere is a good player struggling to get out. He has a couple of assists for us, can play a pass, is reasonably solid in defence and gets forward quite well.

    I think he just verges on mediocrity – what you might have once called a journeyman. Nowhere near as dynamic as Yedlin or Willems on the other flank and, therefore, in a system which relies on pace and in the modern game where width is provided by the full/wing backs, not what we need.

    I’ve championed him on here in the past, but I don’t think he’ll ever be quite the player we want him to be.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #3

    Coming from Scotland it makes sense for Richie to quit international football although we could do with some of his leadership qualities!

    Scotland’s weakness is centre half and up front where we can’t score and our defenders are not good enough!

    Richie is never getting a game at left back as Tierney and Robertson are miles better and on the wing Fraser, Forrest and Christie are just better as well! If he could play up front he would get a game mind you!

    Rafa changing him to left wing back essentially rescued his top flight career as his lack of pace was just getting exposed on the right wing him and Willems will be good competition for each other!

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #4


    I wonder what would have happened this summer if Yedlin had not had the operation!? Was a heavy rumour that Palace were wanting to sign him which would have left us with Krafth and Manquillo as our 2 recognised fullbacks…..

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #5

    Jail, I think you’re right generally, but this is a different Villa team, recently promoted as they are and in some inconsistent form.

    We drew at their place in the Championship most recently, so there’s that, whatever ‘that’ is.

    No love lost with our fans and theirs in recent years, either – it could be a bit spicy, especially given how amazing our away support has been.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #6

    “would have left us with Krafth and Manquillo as our 2 recognised fullbacks…..”

    oof, just came out in a cold sweat….

  • Jib

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #7

    Muto’s contract is until June 2022
    If I were Bruce I’d loan him out in Jan
    a To get him some game time
    b To cover his wages
    c To free up a squad place

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #8

    LCBP #3, that’s a good bit of insight, thanks for sharing.

    So, the move to LWB essentially rescued his club career but doomed his international career? That’s a decent trade-off I would say, given his club career probably grosses him over £2M / year.

  • Jib

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #9

    Ibrahimovic is on £5.5M a year at LA Galaxy
    A daft 6 months on £2.75M in January ?

  • DaveD1000

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #10

    Rob @2
    yea when he got that run of a few games he did…ok. It looks like there is something there but it is going to take a Clydesdale to drag it out.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #11


    Yeah when he did play for Scotland on the right wing he was largely ineffectual as his lack of pace was exposed as our right back at the time wasn’t that pacy either so he couldn’t use him as a decoy like he used to use Yedlin.

    The move to left wing back certainly got him performing at a top 10 level last season 8 assists from that position and lots of chances created was a good return for only half a season in the position! Wonder he would have done over a whole season if he played as the left wing back in the 343 for the whole season?

    If we were to sell him now would be interesting to see what position he would be expected to play in and in what league?

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #12


    I think if Bruce isn’t going to play Muto and doesn’t rate him we would be as well to get him off the books and get someone in that he will use!

    Personally at the moment I would have him on the bench to come on in the last few games Joelinton has looked knackered and we could do with the ball over the top option for the defence to hit as Muto would chase everything down

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #13

    “Manquillo came back into the side against Brighton after not starting since the opener against Arsenal. He was extremely poor in that game, especially in the first half. ”

    Not so. Manquillo was reasonably solid in that game, also decent v Arsenal in the opener, and excellent in pre season, as well as the second half of last term, when he was first choice on merit.

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #14

    Jail, re yesterdays shat , the squad Rafa had for the championship ( and which he party assembled) was a FAR better proposition than Villa so stop talking tripe. I have many pals who support teams down in that division and at the start of the season they reckoned our team and subs was the strongest ever assembled for that division. So knock your revisionism on the head please. I must say I enjoyed how the whole abuse of SB is easing and some context put on Rafa over the last few days, and plenty of discrediting of Tsunki’s lunatic views about silverware making Bruce acceptable etc. As a heart counter I’m sure you noticed the many hearts being handed out for more sensible fair and balanced perspectives. The logic of guys like Billson is , correctly, far more accepted by the blog now. And thankfully Rafa’s tenure is now viewed accurately and in context . Progress at last. Rafa was very good, and is better than Bruce, but he’s gone and Bruce is doing his best, and is doing better than the naysayers would ever have thought for a useless dinosaur who plays 442 , long balls only, and injures players because as a dinosaur he doesnt believe in sports medicine .

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Nov 12, 2019 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #15

    Calling someone a know nowt then referencing Lee Ryder

    Comedy gold or thick as mince.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 12, 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #16

    Well if you’re mates who support teams in the Championship said it, it must be true.

  • Jib

    Nov 12, 2019 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #17

    #BoycottAshley ( OP)
    Calling someone a know nowt then referencing Lee Ryder
    Comedy gold or thick as mince.

    Ryder interviewed Fabian at Benton yesterday.
    When was the last time you or Jail spoke to
    Lejeune ?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 12, 2019 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #18

    Like I said, Pardew won a lot of us over and where did it get us, he took an eight year deal to peddle the story that we can’t compete with ”Swansea and Southampton” to recently promoted clubs at the time. That is what I loved about Rafa, from that first interview with not an SD advert in sight, he told us what was possible and knew how to deliver it. Mike Ashley knew it was possible too and agreed to the parameters Rafa had set out, going as far as to introduce him to an architect. We’ve already had Steve Bruce telling us about our two relegation’s and having to accept where we are at, why should we have to accept being run as a newly promoted club year after year where hiring a manager who’s finishing 13th and getting past the fourth round of the FA cup will be seen as a massive success, a situation where the fans are at one and other, those willing to accept the shit being thrown at us and those not.

  • Unused Substitute

    Nov 12, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #19

    Can anyone help me with the name of another team anywhere around the world that did well over a length of time riding just on the productivity of defenders (who are lately being endowed with Godlike attributes) and the genius of a head coach (being rendered Godlike as well for being able to suddenly discover his knack after years of futility)? That will reassure me (and many other perpetually agonized supporters) for a little while longer. Realistically, though, despite those many Godlike entities working for us, only a single point from the next two games will be good for me.


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