Newcastle signed two strikers this summer, while Dwight Gayle remained at the club. This is good news for Steve Bruce, but potentially bad news for Yoshinori Muto.
The Japanese forward was an unused substitute against Arsenal, and the clock is already ticking for him to get a chance under Bruce.
In the new manager’s first friendly, Muto impressed and scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over West Ham. Up front with a partner, he was a real handful, having struggled days earlier against Wolves as a lone striker.
Bruce has stuck with the 3-5-2 formation, meaning there is a chance for Muto to have an impact.
As things stand, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton are first choice, and rightly so. But behind them is Muto, who will be praying for some minutes before Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle return to fitness.
The pair seem well liked by Bruce, who hasn’t stopped raving about Carroll since he arrived on deadline day. As for Gayle, Bruce made it very clear he wanted to keep the former number nine.
So you’d imagine that, when fit, they’d be ahead of Muto in the pecking order. That means the 2018 signing is potentially on borrowed time, unless he can prove Bruce wrong of course.
Even if it’s just off the bench, the 27-year-old needs to take any opportunity he gets between now and the other strikers’ return to fitness.
Muto has been far from convincing since arriving at St James’ Park, and it already looks like he could be up against it despite a new manager. If a chance comes his way in the coming weeks, he has to take it.