The newspaper claims that the South Korea international, who is on a reported £40,000-per-week at St James’ Park [Source: Spotrac], isn’t in the boss’s good books.
The report states that: “While Ki was a top performer when called upon by Rafa Benitez last season, it’s clear he’s not 100% trusted by Bruce.”
This is an assertion that is certainly backed up by the state of play at Anfield on Saturday. With Sean Longstaff having suffered a freak injury in training earlier this week, there was an opportunity for a different central midfielder to come in and do a job alongside Isaac Hayden. Ki was obviously a candidate, but it was Jonjo Shelvey who got the nod against Jurgen Klopp’s team. That in and of itself isn’t too surprising, the England international is a fine player after all, but it was the fact that Ki didn’t even make it off the substitute’s bench which was most telling. This is a game that Newcastle lost 3-1. There was a time when it was only 2-1 and there was still the (slim) chance that the Magpies could salvage a point on Merseyside. Yet who did Bruce turn to to change the game off the bench? Two defenders ahead of a veteran midfielder like Ki. Both Javier Manquillo and Federico Fernandez got on, but not the South Korean. So, yes, it seems clear that he’s not Bruce’s favourite player.