Former Newcastle United defender John Anderson believes Steve Bruce wants to play with a traditional back four, but feels he can’t.

The 60-year-old has been setting up with three central defenders for most of time in charge at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle United v Burnley - Carabao Cup Second Round
Steve Bruce (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Some have suggested this displays an ‘afraid to lose’ mentality.

It is a system that has probably worked for him more often than it hasn’t.

This season though, the system simply hasn’t been working.

At the moment, Newcastle are the Premier League’s worst defensive team having shipped 12 goals in their four games so far.

In the eyes of Anderson, Bruce would want to change, but doesn’t feel comfortable doing so.

Fernandez and Lascelles (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

He said (via Chronicle): “I don’t think it’s (a back five) something you can just do, you have to work at it on the training ground.

“I honestly think Steve Bruce would prefer to play with two centre-backs.


“A straight back four. But again it’s about the blend, and I don’t think he believes he’s got two who are good enough to play together.

“I don’t think there’s that pace to do it, so he takes it out the equation and plays three and hopes they compliment each other.”

Bruce needed Tuanzebe

Anderson is probably right about there being a lack of pace.

Maybe that is why Bruce insists upon the three centre-backs.

Someone who would have brought that is Axel Tuanzebe.

Manchester United v Brentford - Pre-season Friendly
Axel Tuanzebe (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Newcastle were supposedly interested in the Manchester United player, but a move did materialise and he instead went back on loan to Aston Villa.

Supposedly the loan fee set by the Red Devils was too high.

Now Bruce is stuck with the options he has, and it could be that the back five is here to stay.

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