Steve Bruce has reassured Newcastle United forward Yoshinori Muto that he has a future at the club.
The Japanese international failed to feature against Arsenal in the opening day fixture on Sunday and was an unused substitution in the 1-0 defeat.
Bruce explained that despite the Magpies chasing the game, he had to find a right balance and already had three attackers on the pitch before praising the 27-year-old since his arrival on Tyneside.
Speaking in his press conference after the defeat, as quoted by the Chronicle on their live blog (12/08 08:59 am) Bruce said: “We had three strikers on the pitch, it was all about trying to find a balance. Muto has done very well since I’ve come into the club. I haven’t used him today but he’s very much part of my thoughts.”
Muto only managed to score once last season after making 17 appearances under old boss Rafael Benitez.
When Bruce arrived at the club, Newcastle had just let their two top-scorers from last season, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, leave the club – leaving the Magpies with very limited options. Muto and Dwight Gayle were two options taken to their pre-season trip of China, and it was the Japanese forward who took advantage, scoring in their victory over West Ham and impressing throughout. After the arrival of Joelinton though, Muto’s chances seemed to significantly drop, and it comes as no surprise that he didn’t get a chance against Arsenal. Maybe Bruce should have thrown him into the deep end in an attempt to earn something from the game but that wasn’t the case. In Bruce’s defence, Muto did only score one goal last season, a stat that isn’t good enough from a forward who wants to make an impression. The 27-year-old looks to be in Newcastle’s plans but definitely has to deliver more frequently in front of goal if he wishes to stick around past this season.