While Newcastle United fans may not be fully on board with Miguel Delaney following his comments (though I don’t think being wary of ‘sports washing’ is wrong) about the potential Saudi Arabian takeover of the club, the Independent journalist has hit the nail on the head.
Following another big name writer in Daniel Storey, it’s interesting to hear journalists come out and play down the narrative often pushed by pundits such as Robbie Savage and Mark Lawrenson that Steve Bruce is doing a good job. Indeed, they’re actually taking the time to look at the dreadful statistics the team are producing this season and are addressing the issues.
Within his piece, Delaney does reveal something interesting about Sean Longstaff, too.
According to him, some people in the game believe a talent such as the central midfielder has struggled to develop his game due to Bruce’s limited coaching approaching. Delaney hints that those who have worked under Bruce say he expects the finished product and that there is little in the way of tactical work, with the thought that merely having better players means a team is more likely to win a game.
Of course, the likes of Southampton and Aston Villa are flying high this season despite the fact other teams in the division have spent far more money. After all, the expensively-assembled Manchester City sit in 13th.
Is Steve Bruce ruining Sean Longstaff?
The point about Longstaff is interesting. Following his initial emergence under Rafa Benitez, he was compared to Michael Carrick by Louise Taylor of the Guardian and attracted big-money interest from Manchester United.
While a lengthy injury hasn’t helped, he’s never really been able to live up to that since and was relegated to the bench prior to the injury to Jonjo Shelvey this season.
Clearly, there’s no absolute guarantee that a more tactically savvy boss would be able to coax him to the level of Carrick but surely a developing young player would be better served working in that approach, rather than whatever Bruce appears to be doing now.
In other news, better times could soon be on the horizon for Newcastle United – see why here.