Eddie Howe banishes Ryan Fraser, as he only wants 'committed' players

Eddie Howe banished Ryan Fraser to Newcastle’s U21s because he only wants players who are ‘committed’ to the club involved in his first-team squad… while also backing under-fire striker Callum Wilson to rediscover goalscoring form

  • Eddie Howe said he wants just ‘committed’ players in Newcastle’s senior squad 
  • Ryan Fraser was banished to the Under-21s last week following an issue 
  • The boss backed under-fire Callum Wilson despite just one goal since October 

Eddie Howe says he sent Ryan Fraser to train with Newcastle’s Under-21s because he only wants players ‘committed’ to the club around his senior squad.

Sportsmail revealed last week that the Scotland winger had been told to relocate to the academy base ahead of the Carabao Cup final and is unlikely to return.

And Howe, when asked about the issue on Friday, said: ‘Ryan’s training with the Under-21s. I made the decision to concentrate on players that are committed to Newcastle. For the benefit of the group, I’ve made that call.’

It is rare that Howe makes public his displeasure with any player and the removal of Fraser from the training ground is a sure sign that he will be sold come the summer. The head coach was asked if the 29-year-old has a future at St James’ Park.

‘I think that’s a difficult one for me to answer, because I’d never put a firm decision on that, because life and football can change quickly but, I’d say at the moment, no he doesn’t,’ he said.

Eddie Howe sent Ryan Fraser to train with the Under-21s as he only wants ‘committed’ players

Howe said his Newcastle squad will focus on Man City trip after their Carabao Cup defeat

Meanwhile, Howe must now pick up his players for Saturday’s trip to Manchester City on the back of their 2-0 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday. He admits that has not been easy.

‘We have had team meetings and I have had individual meetings to try and rid the players of any, not negative emotion, but sadness,’ he said. ‘There was a feeling of just sadness. Sadness when you are going to play Manchester City is not a good emotion to have. I think that has worked, because initially it was difficult for them.’

Newcastle’s form in the Premier League – one win in seven since Boxing Day – has seen them slip from third to fifth.

Asked why they have tailed off, Howe said: ‘I’m not one to make excuses and I will give what I believe is the answer – and that is we haven’t been clinical enough in both boxes. I mean both boxes, so that isn’t a criticism of the attacking players.

‘You look at West Ham [1-1], we didn’t defend a set-play well enough. We did the same at Bournemouth [also 1-1]. Those two actions cost us four points. Manchester United’s first goal on Sunday then came from a wide free-kick.

Howe backed Callum Wilson despite the England striker scoring just once since October

‘So those details we have fallen down on in the defending half. We haven’t conceded a lot of goals, but every goal we concede is a huge moment, because we’re not free-scoring currently. At the other end, we have to improve in those areas.’

One player who has not been firing post World Cup is England striker Callum Wilson, who has scored just once since October.

Howe said: ‘The challenge is to get all of our attacking players in their best moment together. In a long season that will never happen, the lads will always go through peaks and troughs of form. It is my job to support them, coach them and improve them.

‘I know where you are going with the question [why has Wilson dropped off?], but I think Callum has had moments. I thought he was electric in the first half against West Ham. It is our job as a team to create chances for those players to score. I will back our players, I think we’re good enough, and I think it will change.’

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