Steve Bruce explains Javier Manquillo decision at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce has revealed why he named Javier Manquillo on Newcastle United’s bench.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 10:00 am
Javier Manquillo.

Manquillo – who has recovered from the ankle injury he suffered last month – came off the bench in last night’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. The relegation-threatened club is two points above the drop zone ahead of today’s Premier League games.

Bruce persevered with Emil Krafth, who has had a tough run in the team since Manquillo hobbled off the pitch against Southampton.

Fans had been expecting Manquillo, an unused substitute in the previous weekend’s goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion, to return to the starting XI against Villa.

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Asked how close Manquillo had been to starting, Bruce said: “I was just making sure that he’s right – and he’s right for the run-in. He was ahead of schedule, and I erred on caution with him, because of the injury that he’s got. Thankfully, he’s back, and will come in contention next week.”

Bruce made just one change – Dwight Gayle came in for Jeff Hendrick – against Villa, who took the lead through a Ciaran Clark own goal in the 86th minute. That strike was cancelled out by a 94th-minute header from captain Jamaal Lascelles.

United's head coach, without Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, had other options, but he wasn’t minded to make any more changes despite the club’s poor return in front of goal.

“I wasn’t thinking of making wholesale changes, because we’ve already made wholesale changes in the last few weeks.”

Newcastle take on relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium next Saturday.

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