The Chronicle

Boss con­ning no-one when he says Toon are im­prov­ing

DOUBTS PER­SIST­ING OVER WHETHER SUM­MER BUYS HAVE MADE TEAM BET­TER

- Sports · Steve Bruce · Newcastle United Football Club · Sheffield United F.C. · Ireland · Island of Ireland · Joelinton · Sunderland Association Football Club · Crystal Palace F.C. · The Crystal Palace · Manchester United F.C. · Manchester · Alex Ferguson · Alex Ferguson · John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan · Jamal Lewis · Christian Atsu

SOME of the things Steve Bruce has been com­ing out with have left me scratch­ing my head in dis­be­lief.

I mean, New­cas­tle United are sup­posed to be a work in progress im­prov­ing season upon season and stats are sup­posed to have been twisted to suit any ar­gu­ment by his de­trac­tors.

Well, if New­cas­tle are im­prov­ing un­der his guid­ance they must be on course to fin­ish higher than 13th and their sum­mer sign­ings all sup­pos­edly bet­ter than what he had to help pull off such a lift off - but are they bet­ter?

Cal­lum Wil­son is – I will give Bruce that – but Ryan Fraser has been seen as of­ten as Lord Lu­can while Ja­mal Lewis is a young lad still very much learn­ing his trade.

Which brings me to Jeff Hen­drick. I can­not for the life of me see why he was signed.

What does he bring to the party that United did not pos­sess in mid­field play­ers? Is he more in­ven­tive than what they had? No.

Is he a tougher mid­field tack­ler win­ning the ball back for those who can play? No.

Hen­drick is bang aver­age at best and, what is worse, his pres­ence has halted the progress of young Matty Longstaff be­cause he has dropped down the peck­ing or­der.

When Matty was per­suaded to stay at the club this sum­mer United did not need Hen­drick. Why keep the younger Longstaff and sign an­other mid­fielder?

Matty of­fers more than the Repub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tional in terms of scur­ry­ing en­deav­our and finishing abil­ity round the box.

United ought con­cen­trat­ing on de­vel­op­ing the to be two Longstaff broth­ers rather than clog­ging up their path to progress.

Un­less there is some­thing we have not seen yet, Hen­drick is join­ing Joelin­ton, Yoshi Muto and Chris­tian Atsu who have been signed with­out the ap­par­ent abil­ity to jus­tify it.

How­ever Bruce has kept on pick­ing him and say­ing there is no need for con­cern.

Well right now Bruce is con­ning no-one.

It will take more than one win plucked out of the air to con­vince the faith­ful United are mak­ing steady progress.

It will take not only a run of good re­sults but a vast im­prove­ment in per­for­mances be­cause to Ge­ordies their team is bor­ing at best and down­right painful to watch at worst.

Bruce has man­aged a whole lot of clubs but his worst stats – if we are al­lowed to men­tion stats – have been here in his na­tive North East.

He had a 30 per cent win ra­tio at Sun­der­land and went into the game at Crys­tal Palace last night with a 33 per cent win ra­tio at United. That is one vic­tory in three and if you work that out over a 38-game season it amounts to 36 points from wins. Nowhere near enough.

I be­lieve Bruce has been un­able to un­der­stand where re­cent crit­i­cism has come from.

I think he be­lieves he has been picked upon for no jus­ti­fi­able rea­son. That is wor­ry­ing.

He was brought up at Manch­ester United where Alex Ferguson was ruth­less enough to get rid of his big­gest names if it was to the ben­e­fit of the club, yet he has learned noth­ing.

Bruce was Fergie’s cen­tre-half and skip­per yet he lets Ja­maal Las­celles dic­tate the way United’s back line plays.

It de­fends on the six-yard box be­cause Las­celles wants bod­ies round him for pro­tec­tion against quick at­tack­ers.

What United now face is a make or break run-up to the New Year. It is up to Steve Bruce what he makes of it.

It will take more than one win plucked out of the air to con­vince the faith­ful United are mak­ing progress Su­per­mac

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 ??  ?? Steve Bruce with lat­est sign­ings Ryan Fraser, Ja­mal lewis and Cal­lum Wil­son, in­set be­low Jeff Hen­drick was also signed and Su­per­mac thinks he is hin­der­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Matty Longstaff
Steve Bruce with lat­est sign­ings Ryan Fraser, Ja­mal lewis and Cal­lum Wil­son, in­set be­low Jeff Hen­drick was also signed and Su­per­mac thinks he is hin­der­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Matty Longstaff

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