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.
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.
— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) July 16, 2020
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.
Of course can’t be any worse then some so called senior pros have been lately
— scott biffa carlin (@carlinbiffa) July 16, 2020
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.
Got to be better than Krafth
— 🇬🇧 DavidL1980 🇬🇧 (@L1980David) July 16, 2020
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.
Kel should be blooded, he has the tools, just needs the exposure to learn!
— Quizzie Rascal (@theboycharlie71) July 16, 2020
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.
Seasons done.. if hes got a chance then play him! Id play Matty Longstaff too aswell having a final look at Lazaro, Bentaleb, Rose and possibly Muto.
— Jase (@HolzvonHolzer) July 16, 2020
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.
The master tactician will continue to play a RB at CB. Possibly a RB in at LB and who knows who’s going to play in CM on Monday #nufc
— Kevin Nichol (@Kevin_Nichol) July 16, 2020
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.
I don’t understand why he’s been so reluctant to give Watts, Allen, Barlaser, Sorensen etc a chance in these games but was more than happy to throw Matty in for a debut at home to Man U when we were struggling for points and coming off the back of a 5 goal thumping from Leicester
— Stuart Roxburgh (@Stuart_Roxburgh) July 16, 2020
Absolutely the young pro’s should all be getting a chance to show there capabilities. No crowds to get on there backs & allow them to play natural game. But SB won’t do that.
— Andrew Ferguson (@Fergie_78) July 16, 2020