Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Makes Sure United Players Who Missed Cut Will Not Become the Forgotten Five

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Makes Sure United Players Who Missed Cut Will Not Become the Forgotten Five

Article excerpt

ROLANDO Aarons, Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback, Henri Saivet and Jamie Sterry do not even have a squad number but the quintet could still be Newcastle players come Christmas, writes CIARAN KELLY.

While Steve Bruce has had some tough decisions to make since becoming the Magpies' head coach, telling those players that they did not make the cut for his 25-man Premier League squad was agonising.

Aarons, Lazaar and Colback were players Bruce had managed before, who had been enjoying playing in black-and-white again. Aarons must have thought he was in with a shout after starting Newcastle's final preseason game against Saint Etienne. However, given how Newcastle did so much business towards the end of the transfer window - five new players came through the door in 16 days - those slots were snapped up.

After delivering the bad news, Bruce had hoped the quintet would get fixed up, but transfer windows in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Scotland, the Netherlands, Turkey and Denmark will all be shut come September 2. By the end of next week, clubs in Bulgaria, Russia and Romania will be unable to bring in any more players, either.

Rather than banishing these outcasts to the reserves, Bruce has been keen to keep them involved in training, to make full use of the numbers in intense, larger-sided games.

One or two things are bubbling away in the background - Lazaar is still attracting interest in Italy - but, whatever happens, Bruce feels a sense of duty towards these players on the training ground at the very least.

"I always try to involve them. It's not their fault that they haven't been picked but that's the most difficult part of the lot," he said.

"You've got four or five who know they are not going to play next week so to keep them motivated within the squad is vitally important. They're just as important as the players who play - if not more so. It's difficult."

Although they were only omitted from his Premier League squad, Bruce has no plans to include Aarons, Lazaar, Colback, Saivet or Sterry in his match-day group for the Carabao Cup. …

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