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Bruce Sees The Light And Identifies The Best Position For Struggling Magpie

After a terrific performance at West Ham on Saturday, Steve Bruce made 10 changes to his team for the Carabao Cup win over Blackburn last night. The gulf in the display was considerable.

Newcastle escaped with a slim 1-0 victory mainly due to the visitors’ inability to create any moment of quality. Blackburn controlled the game, enjoyed the bulk of possession, and had the better chances.

However, it was Newcastle through a terrific pass from Miguel Almiron and a good finish from Ryan Fraser that gets Newcastle through to the next round.

The match reluctantly brought many fans back to some of the performances from last season. Where Newcastle were lacking ideas, conceded possession often, and just looked completely disjointed.

A couple of the individual performances were the same. Both Joelinton and Sean Longstaff were not up to snuff last night. A case could be made that both were not in their best positions.

Joelinton was again played as a striker and showed no improvement from last season. Longstaff was deployed in a midfield two with another young player in Dan Barlaser. Sean struggled to make an impact in the game.

The 22-year-old had similar issues last season when playing deeper in the midfield. However, in the few occasions he played as a number 10 he looked a more confident and effective player.

The Chronicle has published some comments from Steve Bruce about Sean’s performance and the head coach seems to agree that Longstaff may be better higher up the pitch.

“Sean is in the last two years of his contract – we all know what capabilities he’s got he’s got to show it more often and more regularly.

“I’m sure tonight he’ll be a bit disappointed with how he’s played, but we’ve got to make sure that we try to get him to maybe where he was.

“He’s got a lot of work to do, but he’s got healthy competition around him and as I said, he was another one who needed a game tonight and I think that showed.

“It’s an important season for all of them who want to try to get into the team.

“It was a perfect way today to throw down the gauntlet to get into the team or Sunday in the Premier League.

“Certainly his best games for me last season were when he played off the front, number 10, at Bournemouth away and West Brom in the cup certainly in a more forward position.

“I played him in the center of the midfield (vs Blackburn) in a two.

“Look, certainly he’s a midfield player, but probably his best position may be in the number 10 role.”

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26 comments so far

  • Mund

    Sep 16, 2020 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #1

    Finally seeing sense

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 16, 2020 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #2

    I played him in the center of the midfield (vs Blackburn) in a two.

    “Look, certainly he’s a midfield player, but probably his best position may be in the number 10 role.”


    It is the same with Joelinton far too often Bruce is playing guys out of position and the team looks terrible for it as well as the players who are getting shunted about just don’t look the same player I include Manquillo getting shifted about in this as well

  • IrishRob

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #3


    The ONLY reason I think there may not have been something weird going on when we bought Joelinton was his value on Transfermarkt at the time. Before we bought him he was valued at 31.5M. Now you just dont get to that price unless you have quality.

    The issue I have is things are at play that are stopping that quality coming out, whether that’s our team isnt suited to him, or if its regression under Bruce, or whether its hes just not happy in England, or even he doesnt feel loved or appreciated by us, there are SOO many things that could be at play for him physically or mentally, that it is just not going to happen for him at Newcastle, and I’d doubt it will happen for him in England.

    His best bet is to return to the Bundesliga, if Naglesman values him so highly youd imagine he would spend 15M of so with performance add ons it would take to buy him. Under a real coach like him in that team and in that league he could flourish.

    On top of the fact the need a forward after selling Werner, loan him to Red Bull. If he plays well his value will shoot back up again, it’s a win win for both parties.

    But keeping him and playing him is a no no, it’s just not working for him and it’s not ever going to. The kid isnt happy here its beyond obvious that’s the big issue affecting his performances, and I feel bad for him the crap hes going to get this year when he flops even harder.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #4

    Good luck Yoshi.

    Think he could do well over there.

    Never given a chance – some like to point to 28 appearances, but delve a little deeper and those 28 appearances add up to 727 minutes, or about 8 full 90mins in two years.

    His goal against Man U was a good one – swivel a rifled into the net. Him and Perez pressured their backline brilliantly that night. I remember we should have been out of sight by HT, then went on to lose 3-2.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #5

    We’re not playing a number 10 role at present, so how do you suppose Bruce plays him there? Change the whole system for one mediocre player?

    Longstaff has deteriorated partly because of injury, partly struggling with being somebody and the expectation that comes with that. When he first came on to the scene he was a nobody chasing his dream, he took his chance and ascended, got links to Man U and he hasn’t coped with it at all well.

    He had a fantastic 10 or so matches, since then little to write home about.

    His performance last night worried me to the point where I think we need another CM, but we won’t get one this window.

    Best we can hope for is a loan ST and LB I think.

  • Mund

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #6


    I do admire you and others keeping faith but it’s wasted mate. We can only judge what’s in front of us and he has been absolutely woeful. It doesn’t matter what Nagglesman or anyone else says because us fans will judge what we see and he has had long enough now to show if he can produce the goods, or not and he has failed big time.

    The one thing I can’t stand to see in football is when a players head goes. It is the biggest bug bearer I have and I even go mad at my young lad about it. Big Joe last night a few times could of won the ball if he had the desire to do so, but all he did was shy away and basically just stood still and I can’t accept that from any players.

    He isn’t what we stand for as a club he hasn’t a clue.

    We fans only ever ask anyone who comes into this club is to give 100%. We don’t demand success we just want a team that tries and sadly Joe doesn’t fit into that as he has no heart big enough to try.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #7


    That’s the thing whatever the “system” Bruce was using last night wasn’t working either regardless of which players were involved

    Maybe the quality is just not there with some of them but we always seem to be outnumbered in midfield so can never get more than a few passes before having to pass it back to the defence who just lump it long it was the same at West Ham but we had better forward players to win a header

  • RobLeenio

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #8

    Hail “we should have been out of sight by HT, then went on to lose 3-2”

    That was the night of the infamous Ashley Young handball when we were 2-0 up. How that was missed by the ref and linesman I’ll never know. It’s the single best argument for the use of VAR that I know of.

    At 3-0 we were out of sight, 2-0 was still close enough to keep them interested.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #9

    It does feel at this moment in time a loan move away for Joelinton to get his confidence back up would be the best thing

    Getting slapped up front in games like this or in the premiership when he is so low in confidence is only going to permanently ruin him if it hasn’t already happened

    Maybe goals scored would change his fortunes but he can’t get on the end of any chances and then when he finally has a chance to do something fluffs his lines or is offside…..

  • snowdone

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #10

    Whilst I agree Joelinton should be loaned out, I don’t agree it’s Bruce’s fault. The lad is not producing! I am concerned that Manquillo is being over-used. He is a dependable right back and shouldn’t be risked at left back. Clark or Ritchie can fill in there until Dummett returns to shadow our new left back.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #11

    Muto was excellent in that game against Man Utd

    Even Saviet has looked decent when played you do really have to wonder what goes on in the background for these players not to get sniffs over a couple of seasons

    Especially with injuries we are playing guys out of position instead of them

  • Jamesthefirst

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #12

    Sean Longstaff – Bruce’s comments are unfair. Sean played best for Newcastle when he was coached. When he was drilled by Rafa and given purpose and direction. Then he was getting £50 million bids. He is a top top player being completely mis-managed by Bruce.

    Joelinton – Clearly in his contract that if he is fit he plays. Never stays on the bench. Always has to come in. He has been poor from day one and just gets worse. No desire or intelligence. Fans don’t mind if you are not scoring, but if you are not trying on the field, then leave the club. One of the worst signings, perhaps even the worst because of the fee. Should be loaned out. But won’t. Another season watching him do nothing.

    Bruce – An awful manager. No shape, tactics, late subs. What club striving for Top 10 or Europe would think let’s have Bruce as our Manager? Can’t wait for him to leave the club. Nice guy, just terrible at the job at hand.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #13

    When i saw the headline i thought it was about Joelintion, but then equally it could have been Sean and on another day Shar.

  • Mund

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #14


    You would feel sorry for him?

    Mate the lad is robbing a wage off the club you should think of how much he is walking away with each week before offering your sympathy for him.

    Effort and work ethic are huge in being successful in any job on the planet but big Joe has none. He strolls around like a big donkey wearing our illustrious number 9 shirt. It’s a shambles. He is capable of so much more but he hasn’t got that will to want to bust a gut to get in a good position or the effort to challenge people when surely most the time he will come off the best.

  • t hibbitt

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #15

    was there a system being employed last night??
    and if there was what was it ??
    did someone remember to tell the players ???

  • RobLeenio

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #16

    Sad to see Macclesfield Town go pop, I feel for their fans. They’ve been around since 1874, a club with a massive history.

    Unfortunately, I doubt they’ll be the last to disappear.

  • Jamesthefirst

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #17

    You could see time and time again last season we were not being coached. Bruce’s comments to Miggy ‘play where ever’ great tactics Bruce. He encourages us to have no shape.

    West Ham lay down, one of the worst performances I have seen from a team. They made us look good. We are not.

    Our first 11 is better, but we will still struggle against the better teams because their managers will give them the shape and tactics to beat us. Bruce will wait until the 80th minute to make a sub. That’s his only plan.

    Hopefully PIF take control next month and Bruce is gone by Christmas.

    For me, his handling of Sean is why he is so bad as a manager. Sean under Rafa, or with Klopp or Ancellloti, would look class.

  • Bianconeri

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #18

    Said this before and will again bruce is a blatherskite
    He is way out of his depth.I think he would try joelinton in goal,just to make sure he plays.
    Hey maybe that’s his best position,or left back

    left back in the dressing room.
    As for the Longstaffs,would we accept them if they weren’t Geordies ??
    Muto never got a chance and cannot believe the chances joelinton has had.

  • Ketsbaia9

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #19

    Would get rid of Longstaff, Joelinton, Hayden, Manquillo and Krafth. All just not good enough. We need to get some quality players in like Cyprien, Sissoko, Shaqiri, Plea, Willems, Mateta etc.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #20

    Sean lost form before Bruce turned up.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #21


    If that were true why haven’t Shelvey and Hayden deteriorated under Bruce as well?

    Shelvey had his most consistent season for us last year and Hayden keeps going from strength to strength.

  • GhostToon

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #22

    If Joelinton worked in an office his performances would be the equivalent of turning up twice a week, being constantly late, upsetting team dynamics, slagging the managers off, doing a half ar*ed job and sleeping with the bosses daughter and getting caught. He would have been sacked ages ago.

    If new owners come in I hope they cut their losses and just sell him back to a German club for next to nothing and free up valuable space in the team.

  • GhostToon

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #23


    Agreed unfortunately we have no money to replace them with, so we are stuck with them for the foreseeable.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #24

    Would love to know what the smoking gun was in that document Amanda received. Also the tweets that Keys tried to delete

  • geordietom

    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #25

    b u s ..

  • Jamesthefirst

    Sep 16, 2020 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #26

    @Hail Wor

    Because Shelvey and Hayden are different players psychologically. Shelvey thrives when he has freedom. Under Rafa he was shackled with defensive duties. Bruce has no shape so he can just do what he knows he is good at.

    Sean is much younger. His whole mindset is different. He’s one of the players you need to put your arm around and man manage. That’s why Rafa got the best out of him. That’s the management style he needs. Under Rafa the lad was trending on Twitter.

    Under Bruce he has no idea what to do. He doesn’t have the self confidence yet. He needs leadership and he’s not getting it.

    He is the best talent this club has produced for a very long time and he is being terribly mis-managed.


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