Football News

Callum Wilson: Newcastle’s assistant is “more tactically aware and up to date” than Steve Bruce

By Ben Green

Published: 17:00, 2 August 2021

Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson has revealed assistant manager Graeme Jones is “more tactically aware and up to date” than the man in charge, Steve Bruce.

Bruce has been at the helm on Tyneside since 2019, guiding the club to a 13th-placed Premier League finish during his maiden campaign and 12th last season, though the man from Northumberland has endured his fair share of criticism from the Toon Army in that time.

The general perception is that Bruce’s pragmatic, often overly-cautious approach does not chime with the want of the fans, who covet a more expansive, up-and-at-em brand. Back-to-back finishes in the bottom half of the table have also not pacified the frustration on the terraces.

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Despite boasting the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey, Newcastle ranked dead last in the season just gone for passes into the final third (1700) and touches in the opposition box (604), two concerning metrics, particularly for a goal-hungry striker in Wilson’s mould.

The England international has now revealed Graeme Jones, who joined Newcastle’s backroom staff in January and went to Euro 2020 as part of Gareth Southgate’s coaching team, is a better tactician than Bruce, while his methods of teaching are more “up to date” than the main man in the dugout.

“I think Graeme Jones coming in as a coach (in January), definitely complemented the manager because he’s a little bit more tactically aware and up to date, whereas the manager has his different strengths and attributes,” Wilson revealed.

“When you see the results towards the back end of the season and the way we were in games, we had more of a style and philosophy. That will happen from the start of the season with a good coach around to help out the previous coaches.”

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Allan is going to be on it — and I’ll be kicking him up the a*** to make sure he is!”

Despite the concerning statistics from last season at St. James’ Park, with the club also registering the fifth-least number of chances created (289) and shots taken (397), Wilson believes the club are in a more stable position and can push on in 2021/22.

He has name-dropped Saint-Maximin as a player who can help galvanise the terraces and get Newcastle playing with more fluidity, joking he’ll “be kicking him up the a*** to make sure” if his form ever tails off.

Wilson continued: “We’ll have a good season this year, definitely. I’m going to be on it, Allan is going to be on it — and I’ll be kicking him up the a*** to make sure he is! Jonjo (Shelvey), is almost fit now, Ryan Fraser is fit and getting games in, we’ve got Fabby (Fabian Schar), who is great on the ball and who just needs some more game time.

“You hear the outside stuff and people calling for the manager’s head, but sometimes change isn’t always a good thing. We just need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to start the season right.

“We’ve got a tough run-in so we don’t want to be letting it go down to the back end of the season, that’s for sure. If we can get as many points as we can on the board before Christmas, we’ll be in a good place.”