Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe will likely be keeping a close eye on his players who are on international duty this week, with some members of the Magpies squad potentially able to stake their claim for a more prominent role at club level by impressing for their country.
One man who has already caught the eye for their national team is forward Ryan Fraser, with the Scotland international having produced a stunning late cameo to help fire Steve Clarke’s side to victory over Ukraine in Wednesday’s Nations League clash at Hampden Park.
The 28-year-old had initially been named on the bench for last night’s encounter, although more than made the most of his brief outing on the pitch, having provided two assists in his 14-minute appearance.
With the home side already ahead through Aston Villa skipper John McGinn’s driven effort, the diminutive winger then twice teed up fellow substitute Lyndon Dykes with two delightful inswinging corners, with the towering striker duly heading home on both occasions.
That impactful display saw the Newcastle man lay on those two assists from a total of just ten touches – including only three passes – with that showcasing the type of quality the £9m-rated man can produce in the final third.
As journalist Dominic Scurr stated, the £35k-per-week ace was well and truly “back with a bang” on the international stage, having been absent from the Scotland set-up since pulling out of a squad last year with injury, only to then be pictured in training for the Tynesiders just days later.
Now firmly back in Clarke’s good books, the former Bournemouth gem will likely be hoping it can lead to a more prominent role back at his club, having largely been a bit-part player since his arrival in the northeast on a free transfer in the summer of 2020.
While last term saw the Aberdeen-born speedster reunited with former Cherries boss Howe, he was still unable to secure a greater role in the side, having made just 18 Premier League starts during the 2021/22 campaign.
The early weeks of the new season have seen the 5 foot 4 wide man make just three starts from the opening seven league games, with that involvement having largely only come as a result of an injury to teammate Allan Saint-Maximin.
The expectation is that once the Frenchman returns Fraser will then be sacrificed, although his current form could well see him moved over to the right flank rather than the left, with playmaker Miguel Almiron seemingly not an out-and-out option in that wide berth.
With two games still left to play for his country before league action resumes, the 22-cap gem could well go on to further illustrate his potent attacking threat.