Date: 20th July 2020 at 3:39pm
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Newcastle travel to Brighton this evening, and with just two games of the season remaining along with no risk of relegation, some fans have suggested it might be time for Steve Bruce to award some academy players their Premier League debuts.

Another reason the Magpies boss may be forced into rotating his squad is the growing list of players who are on the St James’ Park treatment table, including four centre backs who could be missing tonight.

Kelland Watts spent the majority of this season on-loan in League Two with Stevenage FC but given his promising displays in the fourth tier and Premier League two, where he has made 25 appearances.

Many have suggested that now would be the ideal opportunity for the 20-year-old to make his Premier League debut, over a year after he was on the bench against Fulham for the final match of last season.

Some Newcastle United fans could not agree more that one of the club’s brightest defensive prospects should be allowed to prove he can handle himself in the Premier League. So far Watt’s only tastes of professional football have been on loan in the fourth tier with Mansfield Town and Stevenage FC.

Those who agreed even suggested that he may perform better than Newcastle’s regular first-team members, which is somewhat understandable given the Magpies have picked up just one point in four matches since they secured their Premier League status for next season.

One player who has really struggled is Emil Krafth, with the Sweedish defender putting in some less than convincing performances, albeit occasionally out of position, to earn an average match rating of 5.98 across the last three matches.

Meanwhile, others suggested they had seen enough across his spell in the lower divisions, as well as his performances for the youth sides where he has scored two hat-tricks, to suggest that they would start the 20-year-old this evening if given the choice, and allow him some top-flight experience to continue his development.

Another wise suggestion was that it might be worth Bruce altering his line up to have a look at any players who may depart this summer. Danny Rose, Valentino Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb’s loan deals are all set to expire shortly, and this fixture presents the boss with an opportunity to see who is worth pursuing permanently in the summer, along with blooding youth into the squad.

However, some supporters appear to have grown impatient with Bruce and his reluctance to start any youth team players, instead opting to deploy a makeshift defence in the previous defeat to Tottenham with Krafth at centre back and Fabian Schar in midfield.

He was not alone in displaying confusion and lack of faith in Bruce for not giving more youngsters a chance, especially considering the circumstances surrounding Matty Longstaff’s debut and the fact that he has been such a success when he has featured since.

The younger of the Longstaff brothers sadly appears set to depart to Udinese this summer, but the success of his promotion from the U23’s should be an incentive to try with other youth players.