Steve Bruce has wanted to 'box clever' with Ryan Fraser given the new signing's lack of football - and the Newcastle United head coach insists Miguel Almiron will 'always be there or thereabouts because he's a very good player'.

Before Fraser completed his move to St James' Park last month, the winger had not played a competitive game for six months. While Jeff Hendrick was in a similar position, the 28-year-old arrived two weeks earlier than Fraser during pre-season and had also got minutes under his belt with Ireland

Almiron, meanwhile, has only started one Premier League fixture for Newcastle so far this season; in contrast, in 2019-20, no other outfield player started more league games for the Magpies than Almiron.

Fraser and Almiron linked up impressively in their first start together against Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup last month but the pair have yet to get a chance from the off in the top-flight just yet.

"We're only four or five games in and Ryan, in particular, hadn't kicked a ball since March so we knew we had to box a bit clever with him," Bruce told reporters on a Zoom call. "That's the way we've been.

"Playing for Scotland has certainly helped him, that's for sure. But the one thing that we've got at the minute is five or six attacking players - Ryan, Miggy, Allan, Andy Carroll, Callum Wilson. They're all good players in their own right.

"Jacob Murphy has done very well, especially in the cup competitions, so we've got competition for places.

"They've all played their part and, as I said, we're only five games in and we can't pick them all but that's what we've got a squad for.

"You know what I think of Almiron. I did think it was going to be unfair on him last week, in particular, when he didn't get back until the Friday after being halfway around South America so he didn't come into the equation last week.

"But Miggy, the way he trains, the way he plays, the way he is, is always there or thereabouts because he's a very good player."

It will be interesting to see if Fraser or Almiron come into the starting line-up for Sunday's trip to Wolves and changes are on the cards at Molineux after Newcastle's 4-1 defeat against Manchester United last time out.

Supporters were, obviously, unable to react to that performance inside St James' Park but they have certainly made their feelings clear on social media.

“Back in the day we all went to the pub and looked at the team sheet and said, 'Why did he pick him?'" Bruce added.

"We would all sit around, have a beer on it and say: 'He got that wrong. He should have played him and him'.

“That is now magnified and everyone has a platform. Everyone has a different look on what team I should pick and shouldn't pick. Let's be honest, that is the beauty of football.

"My job is to be out there and to be scrutinised. 'What has he done this for? Why has he played him and not him?' That's the part you used to go to the pub and enjoy.

“Now with the platform fans have got, everyone is a manager these days and everyone knows best.

"That's the beauty of the great game that we play. We all have different opinions. I hope in my job I get the majority OK or otherwise I won't last very long.

"It is magnified hugely, though, and the one thing about not being at the ground, not seeing their team live, is it's different from watching it on TV.”