DeAndre Yedlin was Steve Bruce’s true hero against Fulham on Saturday as the Newcastle United defender earned his first start of the Premier League season.
Bruce introduced a raft of changes to the Magpies’ line-up from the side that was humiliated at Leeds United during the week, with Jamal Lewis, Jacob Murphy, Jeff Hendrick, Isaac Hayden and Ryan Fraser all dropping out.
The alterations failed to do the trick in the most part, with Newcastle relying on a 64th-minute penalty from Callum Wilson to salvage a point at home to Scott Parker’s relegation-threatened Fulham, who played the final half-hour of the St. James’ Park affair with 10-men.
Wilson’s defeat-preventing goal, his eighth strike of the season and first in December, was not enough to see the £20million summer arrival from AFC Bournemouth end the game as Bruce’s hero, though, having seen Yedlin claim that honour.
Bruce has been opposed to fielding Yedlin for much of the season with the United States international omitted from nine of his side’s 12 Premier League matchday plans before facing Fulham, when he earned his first start of the campaign outside of the Carabao Cup.
Yedlin looked rusty having played only four minutes in the top-flight this term, yet the £30,000-per-week speedster, who could be sold in January to avoid him leaving for free next summer, offered plenty of positives to emerge as Bruce’s true hero.
The £4.5m-rated full-back consistently made himself available and called for the ball to show Bruce and Newcastle what he’s still capable of, while standing up defensively with three clearances and three interceptions, per SofaScore.
Yedlin’s final ball often let him down on Saturday with only one of his five crosses finding a teammate in the box, but that failed to dent his confidence as the 27-year-old continued to push forward and saw his efforts return one key ball and 60 touches.
He additionally connected with three of five long balls, 33 of his total 41 passes, won his sole aerial battle and contended three ground duels.
Yedlin was not at his best by any means given his limited game time this season, but his relentless work and willingness to challenge would have left Bruce with plenty to mull over ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final trip to Brentford.