Steve Bruce must re-evaluate Newcastle United squad, selections and exits – Liam Kennedy's Morecambe takeaways
What will Steve Bruce have learned from the Mazuma Stadium outing? Here Liam Kennedy takes a look at what the manager can take from the North West jaunt, and what he must be thinking ahead of a tough trip south to Spurs on Sunday.
Miguel Almiron MUST start this week, and next, and the one after
Three assists and a goal, yet the Paraguayan has not be trusted with a Premier League start yet this season. You have to ask why?
Steve Bruce has shown loyalty to Andy Carroll in recent weeks and following Brighton that looks to have all changed.
For me, Almiron is a must in any Newcastle team. His pace, link between front and back and finally his rapidly improving end-product – he’s been United’s most creative player in 2020 – is invaluable. He starts at Spurs, I don’t care who for, he just starts.
Jacob Murphy plays his way into Premier League 25
Jacob Murphy is a confidence player. And right now he looks brimming with it.
Under Rafa Benitez, after a challenging start to life in the top flight, Murphy looked a shadow of the player he does now. Two full seasons on loan in the Championship, where he has gone away, played games and scored goals, look to have done him the world of good.
This isn’t about ability. Murphy has it. What he has lacked when trusted with a spell in the United first-team is the confidence to express it.
There were no signs of that last night – and in pre-season by all accounts – and as a result he looks to have made it into the United 25-man squad, likely at the expense of Christian Atsu.
The only issue I forsee is that United may not be able to shift the players they want to – Atsu, Henri Saivet, DeAndre Yedlin – and Murphy could be one who has plenty of suitors. Bruce may yet have to consider letting him go, but I think he’s earned a second chance at Newcastle.
A Joelinton re-evaluation?
Joelinton is another who has looked stripped of confidence. He looks anything but at Morecambe. Yes, Morecambe – I know.
It really was a delight to see him play with a smile on his face, enjoying his football, because I am not sure that’s been the case at any point during his time at Newcastle.
I still stand by my idea of sending him out on loan to get games and goals elsewhere with the idea of returning next summer a better player. That only works IF United can add another striker to their ranks via the loan market.
The end of the road for Dan Barlaser?
Is this the end for the Geordie midfielder?
At 23 he’s not young and would have to be one of the 25 in the Premier League squad. At this stage it looks a squeeze to fit him in.
Clubs in the Championship are awaiting United’s call.
And given that Bruce did not start him last night, you have to wonder whether that might have been his final chance to impress.
In fairness, when he did enter the fray off the bench he was another player who looked to have brought their confidence to the table.
Sean Longstaff – the long road to form
Patience has been required where Sean Longstaff is concerned. It seems a long, long time ago he burst on the Premier League scene with a gliding class on the ball and silky movement off it.
He’s not looked close to that player since, in fairness. But we all know that player still remains, it’s just taking a lot of finding.
Last night will have done Longstaff the world of good. But, and it’s a big BUT, he still needs played in his correct position to really shine. He’s no deep-lying midfielder – he didn’t play that last night, mind – he needs set free further up the park.
Will Andy Carroll EVER score for Newcastle again?
I’ve championed Andy Carroll’s cause since day one of his second coming at Newcastle United.
He is one of the best Plan Bs around in the top flight, but as we’ve seen struggles to be a Plan A. Injuries have drained the legs, it seems.
A beast in the air, Carroll used to tuck away chances like he got last night for fun. He missed a very similar sitter at the back end of last season, too. So what’s happened?
Is the player suffering his own crisis of confidence in front of goal? He didn’t seem to be in pre-season. To be fair, it’s not like he’s had a bucket load of chances to score.
Mark Gillespie’s stock continues to rise
I’m not sure Mark Gillespie himself could have predicted his start to life back at Newcastle United would go as well as it has.
Two games, two clean sheets and two confident performances, full of claims, saves, pinged passes and calm.
He’s definitely doing his job in letting Karl Darlow know he’s got a fight on his hands.
It is likely Bruce will revert to Darlow for Premier League action on Sunday, but former Mortherwell keeper Gillespie is doing himself no harm with his Carabao Cup shutouts and the nature in which they have been achieved.