Opinion: Steve Bruce has a real problem in finding Callum Wilson

Image for Opinion: Steve Bruce has a real problem in finding Callum Wilson

While Newcastle United’s second-half performance during the loss at home to Leeds United was a marked improvement on what we’ve seen of late, it’s important not to get too carried away. 

After all, Callum Wilson – the club’s main source of goals – remained an isolated figure throughout.

Indeed, if Steve Bruce is going to stop the rot and keep the Magpies in the Premier League, he surely needs the England international firing.

Without him, they chronically lack any kind of notable firepower and, while that worked to a certain extent last season, neither Jonjo Shelvey nor Allan Saint-Maximin are anywhere near their goal contribution tallies of 2019/20.

According to WhoScored, Wilson had just 26 touches in 90 minutes. No one who started the game for either side had fewer and only the late substitutions of Saint-Maximin and Dwight Gayle touched the ball less in the Newcastle side.

Granted, part of Wilson’s appeal is the fact he doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the build-up play (though he did assist Miguel Almiron) but considering he managed just one shot, his lack of involvement is worrying from a team perspective.

That’s not to blame the £20m summer signing, however. With Bruce’s side at sixes and sevens of late and the utter lack of a coherent plan in the first-half, playing as a lone striker in this team must be a thankless task.

During the games in which Wilson has scored non-penalty goals, he’s been in possession a lot more of the time. Over those four games, his 123 touches equate to around 30.7 per game, so it stands to reason that – by getting him on the ball – Newcastle have a better chance of unleashing their best finisher.

If they don’t manage to find a system that brings him into play more often, his current goal drought looks likely to continue.

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