Friday, May 20, 2022

Update On This Dutch Full-Back’s Future At Newcastle United: Should Bruce Sign Him Permanently?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by The Chronicle Live, Newcastle United left-back Jetro Willems, who is currently on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, remains scheduled to make his comeback from injury by September. Bild had reported on Monday that the Dutch defender is out of action until February 2021 after Frankfurt’s doctor Florian Pfab revealed that he had torn both an anterior and posterior ligament back in January.

However, sources close to the player had denied those claims by stating that there has been no change to the original assessment when they said (via The Chronicle Live), “The comeback remains on schedule, there’s not been any new news from Eintracht Frankfurt or from the player himself. He’s working to the original plan and we’ll see what happens,”

Willems’ Eye-Catching Loan Spell At St. James’ Park

Willems has enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Tyneside so far. When fit, he has been a regular feature in the Magpies first-team this season. The Dutch full-back has played in 20 matches for Steve Bruce’s side this term, scoring two goals while providing three assists across all competitions. He is also averaging 0.7 shots, 0.8 key passes and 1.1 dribbles per game in league football (stats via whoscored). His productivity going forward has made him a fan favourite at St. James’ Park so the Toon Army would want him to stay beyond this summer.

Defensively, the 25-year-old has made an average of 1.9 tackles, 0.9 interceptions and 2.0 clearances per 90 minutes in the Premier League which goes to show that he is a capable defender inside his own half (stats via whoscored). The ex-PSV Eindhoven sensation has also earned 22 senior caps for the Netherlands national team but is yet to open his goal-scoring account for his nation.

Now that the UEFA European Championship has been delayed until the summer of 2021 due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, Willems will have a proper shot to come back stronger than ever from his long-term injury so that he can book a place in Ronald Koeman’s squad for next year’s tournament.

What Are The Dutch Defender’s Best Attributes?

Willems boasts decent pace and can make some mazy and powerful runs down the left flank. He has scored a couple of memorable goals against Liverpool and Manchester City this season which goes to prove that he is not afraid of the spotlight and can perform at a high-level even under challenging circumstances. The Dutch talent has also shown this season that he can be a reliable defender at the back but needs to improve his decision-making if he wants to succeed in the English top-flight.

Should Bruce Sign Willems Permanently This Summer?

When Willems is playing with confidence on the field, he is arguably one of the first names in Bruce’s teamsheet. He offers a lot more going forward when compared to Paul Dummett and is a better defender than Matt Ritchie. However, Danny Rose could be an upgrade over Willems in the long-run if Bruce can find a way to make his loan deal permanent from Tottenham Hotspur at the end of this campaign.

At the same time, the English full-back will likely command a much higher fee than Willems, so it makes a lot of sense for Bruce to stick with the Dutch defender beyond this summer. Despite his injury concerns, the pros outweigh the cons of signing Willems permanently in the off-season.

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