Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has been “really impressed” with his players’ upon their return to training, Football Insider understands.

The Magpies stepped back onto the training pitches last week for socially-distanced sessions before moving to group sessions from today (Thursday).

A source at St James’ Park has told Football Insider that the Newcastle squad have come back in “great” shape and that the manager has been impressed with their efforts while training in isolation.

The players had been working through individual fitness programmes at home, with the training ground shut down for over two months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

With twice-weekly testing in place for players, the Magpies returned to Darsley Park last Tuesday, with sessions limited to a maximum of five players and with no contact or tackling.

With training levels now starting to ramp up ahead of a potential return to Premier League action, Bruce has not been disappointed by what he has seen from his men.

The source told Football Insider: “The lads have been great. It’s not ideal, the thought of going back 4/5ths of the way through the season and having to treat it as a pre-season isn’t something any player would want.

“The players have taken to it really, really well and he’s (Bruce) been really impressed with how they’ve trained because it’s not been easy for them training individually. They’ve done great.” 

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce smiles

With England’s top-flight currently suspended, Newcastle sit 13th in the table with nine games left to play.

The club’s last game before lockdown saw them beat Southampton 1-0 on the south coast, with Allan Saint-Maximin netting the winner.

In other Newcastle United news, Darren Bent has made a claim about Mike Ashley after a major takeover update.