Ryan Fraser’s best position is on the wing. Yet for Newcastle he never really plays there.
Signed in 2020 on a free from Bournemouth, the 27-year-old has had a shocking start to his Magpies career.
He’s struggled with fitness, injury and ill-discipline. On top of that, he’s also been played out of position.
Last season he was often deployed as a striker, while this season he’s had a different role.
Fraser hasn’t started in the Premier League since the new campaign kicked off, but has appeared off the bench in all three games.
But instead of coming on down the flank and giving us added pace to get crosses in the box, Fraser is instead playing in centre-midfield.
It’s a role he has reportedly asked to be taught, seeing it as his only way of getting in Bruce’s 3-5-2 system. It’s another example of square pegs in round holes…
International duty for Newcastle ace Fraser
But while Newcastle take a break, Fraser is busy representing Scotland in World Cup qualifying action.
He started for Steve Clarke’s side against Denmark on Wednesday night, but appears to be having the same problem.
The 5ft4in man was inexplicably playing up front alongside Che Adams, with his Scotland teammates pumping long balls in his direction. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work.
Fraser has had a tough time since leaving Bournemouth, but it’s not his fault he’s being played out of position.
We saw on the South Coast how devastating he can be down the left flank, getting 14 assists in the 2018/19 Premier League season. Only Eden Hazard got more.
He’s struggling at club level, and he’s struggling for his country too. But why does neither Bruce nor Clarke play him out wide? It baffles Toon fans, and it baffled the Tartan Army last night as well.