The international player who has everything to prove at Newcastle United
The sun was shining this time last year – and football was back.
After a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League restarted last June.
However, Bournemouth had to restart their campaign without Ryan Fraser Fraser chose not to extend his soon-to-expire contract as he feared an injury would jeopardise a summer move.
The pacy winger sat out Project Restart, and, without him, Bournemouth were relegated at the end of the delayed season. Fraser joined Newcastle United last September as a free agent.
Speaking candidly at a socially-distanced media day at the club’s training ground last September, Fraser was honest about his reasons for sitting out the restart. He wanted to set the record straight following criticism from Bournemouth supporters.
"I never wanted it to end like that," said the 27-year-old. “If this virus didn’t come, I would have played every game under my contract.
"Everyone’s got their opinions. I respect everyone’s opinion, good or bad. I wasn’t under contract, so I didn’t feel like I should play the games … (in case) I get an injury.
"Obviously, I wanted to help the team. I didn’t want them to go down. I feel like if I’d played, without sounding big-headed or big time, I like to think I would kept us up, which hurts even more. But I wasn’t under contract so I didn’t actually do anything wrong, but I can see why people think that.”
Fraser avoided injury last summer, but he didn’t avoid injury last season. It was always going to be a challenge managing the return of a player who hadn’t played a competitive game for six months, and Fraser’s campaign was punctuated by groin and hamstring injuries.
He missed the last two months of the season with a groin injury that needed surgery, but was fit for Scotland’s Euro 2020 campaign
Only that injury-interrupted club campaign didn’t help Fraser when it came to representing his country, as he only made two tournament appearances from the bench totalling 43 minutes.
Scotland didn’t progress out of their group, and Fraser’s now recharging ahead of a hugely-important campaign for him – and his club.
Newcastle fans only got a few glimpses of what Fraser can do last season – and they need to see a lot more from him next term.