Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has revealed the reason why he banished Ryan Fraser to the U21s, with the winger’s future looking bleak in English football.
Fraser, who joined the Magpies from Bournemouth in the summer, has been a peripheral figure since Howe took charge in April. The Scotland international has made just two appearances for the club, both of which came in the League Cup, and has been left out of the matchday squad for the last three Premier League games.
Speaking to the media ahead of Newcastle’s clash with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Howe explained why he had decided to leave Fraser out of the first-team picture.
“I think Ryan has been a little bit unfortunate,” Howe said. “He’s a player who I think has a lot of potential, but he’s not quite at the level that I want him to be at.
“He’s been training with the U21s and I think that’s the best place for him at the moment. He needs to work hard and get back to the level that I know he can reach.”
Fraser’s future at Newcastle now looks uncertain, with the 27-year-old having failed to make an impact since his move from Bournemouth. He has made just four appearances for the club in all competitions, and has yet to start a Premier League game.
The winger’s situation is made even more complicated by the fact that he is out of contract at the end of the season. It is unclear whether Howe will offer him a new deal, or if he will be allowed to leave the club on a free transfer.
Fraser’s situation is a far cry from his time at Bournemouth, where he was one of the club’s most important players. He made over 150 appearances for the Cherries, scoring 17 goals and providing 24 assists.
It is a shame to see a player of Fraser’s quality struggling to make an impact at Newcastle, but Howe’s decision to send him to the U21s is understandable. The winger needs to rediscover his best form if he is to have any chance of resurrecting his career at St James’ Park.