Steve Bruce has the unenviable task of replacing Callum Wilson when he picks his Newcastle side to face Manchester United.
But now the Premier League is back, and Newcastle find themselves in the middle of a media storm. Yes, we are Manchester United’s opponents for the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
But who will start for Steve Bruce at Old Trafford?
Bruce should stand by Freddie Woodman
Ahead of the game, Bruce confirmed that Karl Darlow is back in ‘contention’ after suffering from COVID.
However, Freddie Woodman should retain his place in goal.
Despite conceding eight goals so far, Woodman hasn’t really made any mistakes since making his Premier League debut. Instead, he’s failed to receive adequate protection from the defence in front of him.
While Darlow is a good goalkeeper, it would be harsh on Woodman to drop him for the trip to Manchester United.
Paul Dummett to return
Paul Dummett is yet to feature this season due to injury. However, he returned to training prior to the international break.
The 29-year-old is our best left-sided centre-back, and will no doubt relish the opportunity to play against Ronaldo.
Miguel Almiron available
Fortunately, Miguel Almiron will be available for Newcastle. There had been suggestions that he could have been banned from playing by FIFA.
However, common sense has prevailed, and Almiron will be available for the trip to Old Trafford.
While he’s struggled this season, he will certainly start on the left of a midfield three.
Joelinton replaces Wilson
Bruce confirmed before the game that Callum Wilson is injured. That’s a huge just four games into the Premier League season.
So who should take his place: Joelinton or Dwight Gayle?
While the latter is more prolific, it is the former who should start.
Joelinton is better at holding up possession than Gayle, and will be a focal point for Bruce’s side.
It will likely be a thankless afternoon for the Brazilian up front. However, most eyes will fixed on the other number seven…
Predicted XI: Woodman; Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett; Murphy, Willock, Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie; Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.