There’s no doubt that Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce’s decision to start striker Andy Carroll against Sheffield United on Thursday night was a big gamble.
The Magpies boss has continued to keep faith with misfiring club record signing Joelinton throughout this season despite him scoring just once for the club.
However, he’d finally had enough on Thursday, and installed the polarising England international at the head of the attack in the Brazilian’s place.
Still, given that Carroll hasn’t scored since returning to the club and hasn’t even played much football in his second spell on Tyneside, Bruce’s decision represented a mighty risk at Bramall Lane.
Well, you have to say that the boss’ gamble worked like a charm in the 2-0 win over Chris Wilder’s side. Carroll was a thorn in the Blades’ side from start to finish, involved in the build-up for Allan Saint-Maximin’s opener, before staying onside to flick the ball on for Jonjo Shelvey’s controversial second goal.
The 30-year-old won a colossal nine aerial balls, bullying the Sheffield United defenders, while he also produced one key pass and drew a foul.
He did some good work defensively, as well, which is something else he brings to the team. The former West Ham United man made a fantastic four clearances against the Blades [Source: WhoScored.com].
Carroll, provided he can stay fit – which is a big if – is surely set for a key role with Newcastle moving forward now. He clearly brings more to this Magpies side than Joelinton, so why wouldn’t Bruce continue with him after his performance on Thursday?