Steve Bruce reveals why he left Matt Ritchie and Sean Longstaff out of his Newcastle United squad

Steve Bruce has spoken about his decision to leave Matt Ritchie and a number of players out of his Newcastle United squad.

Sunday, 31st January 2021, 3:00 pm

DeAndre Yedlin, set for a move to Galatasaray before tomorrow’s transfer deadline, was left out of the squad along with Sean Longstaff, who hasn’t featured since the club’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United earlier this month.

Bruce instead named 18-year-old midfielder Elliot Anderson on his nine-man bench.

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Asked if Ritchie had been left out ahead of a move, head coach Bruce said: “Not necessarily. I’ve had to leave five behind, which is always difficult. We have nearly got everyone fit, but the ones we haven’t got are centre-backs.”

Bruce – who lost captain Jamaal Lascelles to a hamstring injury at Goodison Park – had been under intense pressure following an 11-game winless run in all competitions.

The Everton result has stretched the gap between Newcastle and third-bottom Fulham to eight points ahead of Tuesday night’s home game against Crystal Palace.

“I haven’t turned it around now just because of one performance,” said Bruce, who was assisted by new coach Graeme Jones at Goodison Park.

Steve Bruce at Goodison Park.

“There were little signs against Villa in the second half – and against Leeds the other night. I hope if, in time, we stay fit and healthy, we’ll be OK.

“We have seen two centre-halves (Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez) come out of Liverpool – and seen the difference.Thankfully, at the moment, we have a far healthier look about us on the pitch.”

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