Joe White shows his class as Newcastle United fans wait for signings
Steve Bruce took a long look at Joe White tonight – and he will have liked what he saw.
Goals from Jacob Murphy and Joelinton gave the club a 2-0 win over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Bruce was again without Allan Saint-Maximin, who is reportedly unsettled at the club less than a year after signing a new long-term deal. Wilson missed the game through injury. Both could be back ahead of next week’s final pre-season friendly against Norwich City.
In their absence against Burton, White, an 18-year-old midfielder from Carlisle, caught the eye on what was only his second appearance for the club.
White was denied his first senior goal by a good save from Burton goalkeeper Ben Garratt.
Wilson, last season’s leading scorer, missed the game with what was described as a “slight knock”, while Joelinton returned from a thigh injury.
A more significant return was that of assistant Graeme Jones, who had been given a break after the conclusion of Euro 2020, having been on Gareth Southgate’s coaching team for the tournament.
Jones was lauded by some fans for the tactical changes he brought with him midway through last season, and the 51-year-old’s stock rose further on Tyneside following his spell on Gareth Southgate’s England Euro 2020 coaching staff.
Bruce’s popularity, however, remains in the doldrums, and the game kicked off amid chants against him and owner Mike Ashley from the away end, which was filled with around 1,600 travelling fans, many of them standing.
Newcastle – who had needed a late equaliser from makeshift striker Jeff Hendrick against Rotherham United on Tuesday night – got an early breakthrough. Joelinton broke down the left, and his deflected cross was rifled in by Jacob Murphy at the far post.
United probed away looking for a second goal, but Bruce’s side struggled to get a clear sight of goal.
Burton were full of energy and enthusiasm in and out of possession, but they didn’t trouble Freddie Woodman, who was replaced by Mark Gillespie for the second half.
Joelinton made it 2-0 with a powerful header from a Ryan Fraser corner after the restart. Bruce sent on White and Dwight Gayle for the last 35 minutes.
White played off Gayle as a second striker, and the 18-year-old caught the eye in an improved showing from the visitors. White – who joined Newcastle five years ago – played with a composure that belied his age, though he may not be ready for Premier League football.
Newcastle, however, have a lot of work to do – on and off the pitch – before the new Premier League season.
The club desperately needs some new players – United are the only top-flight team that it yet to make a summer signing – and the sooner they arrive, the better.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Woodman (Gillespie, 46), Murphy (Allan, 84), Fernandez (Watts, 79), Schar (Clark, 64), Krafth (Lascelles, 63), Ritchie (M Longstaff, 76), Hayden (Young, 84), Hendrick, S Longstaff (Lewis 64), Fraser (White, 55), Joelinton (Gayle, 55). Sub not used: Langley.