Steve Bruce explains Kelland Watts decision at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce has revealed what he told Kelland Watts after leaving him out of his Newcastle United starting XI.
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Watts was in the frame to start Monday night’s game against Brighton and Hove Albion with five senior defenders unavailable.

Bruce, however, fielded Emil Krafth and Danny Rose alongside Federico Fernandez in a five-man defence at the Amex Stadium, where his team was held to a goalless draw.

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United’s head coach says he made the decision based on the fact that Watts – who has had loan spells at Mansfield Town and Stevenage this season – hadn’t played a competitive game since March 7.

Kelland Watts.Kelland Watts.
Kelland Watts.

Bruce told NUFC TV: “He (Watts) was very, very close.

"I told him the thing that went against him was that he hasn’t played a game in something like five months, so I think it’s difficult enough to come in to play on your debut when you’ve had some games behind you. Five months, I just thought was too much. He’s cherished the experience.”

Krafth left the pitch at the Amex Stadium with a “sore ankle”, and is being assessed ahead of Sunday’s final game against champions Liverpool at St James’s Park.

And 20-year-old Watts – who made his first-team debut in the Premier League Asia Trophy last summer – is on standby to play if Krafth is unavailable.

“He’ll maybe get his chance on the weekend, because Emil’s got a horribly swollen ankle,” said Bruce. “We’ll see how he is. Who knows?”