The unanswered questions at Newcastle United as fans wait for Steve Bruce to set the tone for the season

Newcastle United’s players are back. They’ve been Covid-19 tested, and had fitness tests, but the real tests are yet to come.
Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

The bulk of the club’s squad this week reassembled at the club’s Benton training ground ahead of what will undoubtedly be another testing Premier League campaign.

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However, Allan Saint-Maximin – who had to quarantine on his return to the country following a summer which saw him spent some time on the Greek island of Mykonos – was not pictured, and nor was Federico Fernandez, whose contract expired at the end of last month.

Fernandez, arguably the club’s most consistent defender in recent seasons, has been offered a new deal.

Dwight Gayle and Paul Dummett were back in United’s new all-blue Castore training kit, though, officially at least, their association with the club ended last week when their contracts expired. The club is yet to publish its retained list, or announce Gayle’s new deal and Dummett’s contract extension.

Florian Lejeune and Yoshinori Muto, facing uncertain futures following loans away from St James’s Park last season, are also back at the club.

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United fans last heard from Steve Bruce following the club’s 2-0 win over Fulham on the final day of last season.

Bruce’s post-match press conference at Craven Cottage ended abruptly due to the technical problems, and a number of questions went unasked as a result.

There are still many unanswered questions at the club, which is yet to sign a senior player this summer. The transfer market, however, should start moving once Euro 2020 reaches its conclusion at Wembley on Sunday.

Bruce – who attempted to manage summer expectations when asked about transfers late last season – wasn’t pictured at the training ground, while Graeme Jones, his assistant, is with England. The only comments issued from Bruce so far concern next week’s training camp in York.

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United’s head coach will set the tone for the season when he sits down to talk to the media.

The headlines in recent days have been dominated by calls for takeover arbitration transparency from club owner Mike Ashley and would-be buyer Amanda Staveley, though more transparency on team affairs would also be welcome.

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