Steve Bruce has made some strange decisions during his time as Newcastle United manager.

However, he may have saved his most mind-boggling for what could be his final game in charge.

After an incredible start that saw Callum Wilson put the Magpies in front, Bruce’s side quickly crumbled.

The usual problems persisted, with the men in black and white seemingly unable to match the physical demands needed to succeed in the Premier League.

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Bruce turned to his bench for the final time in the 77th minute, making a double change that looked sure to add some pace to a flat Newcastle side.

Jacob Murphy and Ryan Fraser were coming on, all but certain to play on the right and left wing respectively. Newcastle had already gone 4-4-2 at this point, with Joelinton and Joe Willock struggling out wide.

Murphy and Fraser could have been the injection of pace this team needed to lift the crowd and get a result on a famous day for the club.

While the former played where expected, the latter took up a much more unusual role.

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Decision to play Ryan Fraser centrally was scandalous from Steve Bruce

Rather than trot over to the left wing, Fraser instead stood in the middle of the pitch. All five foot three of him.

He played just off Allan Saint-Maximin in a sort of ‘number 10 role’, while the sluggish Joelinton, who didn’t play well against Spurs, remained on the wing.

And Bruce recently had the audacity to say he doesn’t play anyone out of position that often.

Fraser has struggled since joining Newcastle, but he hasn’t had a lot of luck. He’s had fitness issues, and when he has played he’s never been used in his best position.

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Yesterday seemed like the first opportunity for a long time for the Scotland international to play on the wing. That’s where he can be dangerous. He has the pace to get at defenders, and his assist record proves that he has a final ball as well.

For Bruce to play him through the middle was frightening. Then he became a centre-midfielder following Jonjo Shelvey’s foolish red card.

While this is far from a vintage Newcastle squad, a better manager could get so much more out of these players. Fraser is certainly one of them, and he will surely be desperate for the change that the fans are craving.

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