Steve Bruce has a selection dilemma as Isaac Hayden’s straight red card limits Newcastle United’s options in midfield. Newcastle are in the bottom three and desperately need to find some form from somewhere.
Bruce has previously pondered playing Fabian Schar in midfield (as per The Daily Star). Hayden’s three-game ban opens up a vacancy in the midfield anchor role. Bruce now has an ideal opportunity to launch this experiment – but should he go ahead with it?
Hayden is the lynchpin in Newcastle’s midfield but his rash challenge has earned him a three-game suspension. Jonjo Shelvey is currently out, leaving Ki Sung-yeung and Sean Longstaff in midfield.
Bruce now has two other options up his sleeve. Matty Longstaff – brother of Sean – could be thrown in at the deep end against Manchester United. Or, alternatively, Schar could be moved from centre-back to the holding midfield role.
Schar has played in defensive midfield for Newcastle before. Last season, Rafa Benitez decided to use the Switzerland international in this position against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.
He impressed in an unfamiliar role and he has the qualities to operate in this position. Schar is good on the ball and strong in the tackle, making him an ideal candidate on paper.
Would it weaken the defence?
Unfortunately, Schar’s promotion to the midfield line would leave a gap at the back. Jamaal Lascelles and Schar have been Bruce’s preferred options in central defence with Paul Dummett on the left side if it’s a back-three.
Federico Fernandez is an option if Bruce decides to move Schar forward. With a tough game against Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and others coming up, perhaps it is best to leave it one more week.