Writing in a piece for the Athletic, Waugh said: “Unless Muto can force his way into Bruce’s plans in the short term, he risks a departure in the new year, or remaining a peripheral figure for the rest of the season.”
It’s hard to see any way in which Muto can turn things around to the extent that he can have any kind of meaningful future with Newcastle United. The Japanese international has stuttered his way through life in England so far, and he has shown very little to suggest that he can cut it in the Premier League. When Steve Bruce arrived, you could have been forgiven for thinking that this may have been Muto’s chance to prove himself, but so far this term, he has been as abject as he was last season. Just one start and four substitute appearances have been registered, and his average of 0.2 shots on goal, 0.4 successful dribbles, and no key passes per game, as per Whoscored, show just how anonymous he has been. With Joelinton, Andy Carroll, and Dwight Gayle ahead of him, it’s a long way back from here for Muto, and he could be ousted sooner rather than later.