Newcastle United

Noel Whelan has ripped into Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce after showdown talks between executives and players were touted on Sunday.

The ex-Premier League forward was speaking exclusively after Football Insider revealed that Newcastle stars had discussed the idea of holding face-to-face talks with managing director Lee Charnley over Bruce’s situation.

The senior players were “shocked” at the club backing the manager (Sky Sports) and as this site revealed on Tuesday night that has left some, including an experienced international, seeking the exit.

Newcastle are without a win in six and just two points outside the relegation zone with nine matches to play.

Whelan has been decidedly unimpressed with Bruce’s inability to light a fire under his Newcastle players and claims that the club look doomed for the drop.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “The wheels have been coming off for quite a while, there’s no doubt about that. On the field, it’s absolutely woeful. It’s shocking, it really is.

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“It looks like there’s absolutely no confidence in that club whatsoever. Steve Bruce keeps saying he’s not going to walk away. Will a change at this moment do much? I’m not so sure.

“It can’t get any worse. He’s not getting the best out of the players. They have injuries, I get that. But you’ve got to find that energy, that way of geeing them up somehow. It doesn’t seem like he’s able to do that.

“That’s a really worrying thing that you can’t get the players to do the basics – putting effort in, working hard, running hard. Before you even think about your flair and your link-up play, you’ve got to tick one box and that’s ‘are we working hard?’

“At the moment, he’s not even getting that. That’s ringing relegation alarm bells. At least Fulham are working hard, working for the manager.

“When you look at Newcastle, they look like a sinking ship. They’re going only one way and that’s right down.”

Bruce, a Newcastle fan, was appointed as Rafael Benitez successor at St. James’ Park in July 2019.

He achieved a creditable 13th-place finish in 2019-20 but things have got progressively worse as the current season has worn on.

In other news, a Newcastle United star with years left on his contract has told his agent to find him a new club.