The 29-cap Japan international has been stuck behind Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin this season, while the likes of Christian Atsu, Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll are being turned to before him as well.
Now, Bruce has hinted that the 27-year-old could be off: “He’s got to take his chance when it comes around again,” he said, as per the Shields Gazette, of the former Mainz man.
“He’s been unfortunate. I like Yoshi, but, at the minute, we’ve got people in front of him, and we’ll see where he goes.”
Muto has certainly had a tough time of things since coming to England. He was waylaid somewhat last season by injuries and by his participation in the Asian Cup, but there’s no arguing with the fact that when he has had a chance for the Magpies he hasn’t taken it. That’s certainly been the case under Bruce, who clearly hasn’t seen much of a reason to include him over the first few months of the campaign. He scored against Leicester City in that Carabao Cup defeat in August, yes, but when he was given a starting opportunity in the Premier League, it was against the same opponents in that 5-0 mauling at the King Power Stadium. He was substituted off at half-time there, and he hasn’t gotten a look-in since. As per WhoScored.com, the Japan star produced zero shots, key passes or successful dribbles that day, merely being dispossessed twice. That last sentence from Bruce, ‘we’ll see where he goes’ perhaps tells you how the Newcastle boss feels about Muto’s future.