In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Rob Lee, who made 280 Premier League appearances during his career, believes it could be best for Steve Bruce to stick with his underperforming experienced players instead of blooding youngsters such as Matty Longstaff and Elliot Anderson.
Newcastle United find themselves two points above the relegation zone with nine games left in the Premier League and Lee believes their best chance of staying up is opting for experience over enthusiasm, following Mark Douglas’ claim on Twitter earlier this month that surely the likes of Longstaff and Anderson could be no worse than some of the senior players.
Matty Longstaff has not been handed any minutes since he featured in four out of five games over the festive period when Newcastle faced Manchester City, Leicester, Liverpool and his final appearance was against Arsenal.
Speaking on what he believes to be Bruce’s best option to get some points on the board and what it may do to the young players if they are given the chance to start, Lee told FFC exclusively:
“There’s always two ways of looking at it. There’s the way of do you put the youngsters in and hope they rise above the pressure of playing? Or, there’s the other way of thinking, do you potentially destroy them by putting them in at this stage of the season?
“Are they going to give you more than what you’ve got? In some areas, yes. However, in other areas, they won’t.
“I think most people would go for the experienced players in this sort of situation. However, the thing is our experienced players have got to play better – we’ve been saying this for a long time and that’s the problem.”
Steve Bruce has mostly opted for a midfield trio consisting of Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden alongside one of Joe Willock or Jeff Hendrick, with the former being favoured since arriving from Arsenal in January.
The Magpies have underpropped this season, especially since December, and Bruce will be looking to lean on his experience to get them out of trouble.