Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback is understood to have been left heartbroken after being left out of Steve Bruce’s 25-man squad.
The 29-year-old has endured a turbulent few years after losing his spot at St James’ Park under previous boss Rafael Benitez, despite playing a big role in helping them to earn promotion from the Championship in 2016-17.
Colback fell out of favour with the Spaniard and was courted by the likes of Wolves, Hull and Sunderland after being excluded from the 2017-18 official team photo.
Benitez justified Colback’s absence from the picture by saying the club “had decided the squad before”.
After spending the first half of the season out in the cold, Colback agreed a loan switch to Championship side Nottingham Forest in January 2018.
He claimed he was “treated more like a number than a human being” and accused Benitez of disrespecting him.
Colback made16 appearances during his half-season stint at the City Ground and he impressed enough to earn a season-long loan in 2018-19.
The second tier side were rumoured to be keen on doing a third deal, potentially on a permanent basis this summer, but they failed to act on that interest prior to the deadline earlier this month.
Benitez’s departure from Newcastle this summer offered hope as Colback vowed to force his way back into contention under a new manager.
Bruce was the man drafted in to replace Benitez and he appeared to place his faith in Colback by deploying him in pre-season games.
Indeed, he started both of their Premier League Asia Cup engagements against Wolves and West Ham and was understood to have been given assurances over game-time ahead of 2019-20.
But Bruce, who has now confirmed his 25-man squad, has left Colback feeling disappointed by leaving him out of the final selection.
Bruce admits it was a tough decision and has questioned why managers are restricted to a squad of just 25 players. “Unfortunately, he’s one of those who hasn’t got a squad number,” Bruce said. “It’s the horrible part of the job that I have to tell them that they haven’t even got a squad number. I don’t get that, that you have to have a (25-man) squad when it causes all these problems, but there you go.”
Henri Saivet, Rolando Aarons, Jamie Sterry and Achraf Lazaar have also been omitted from Bruce’s plans as Newcastle look to avoid relegation.
Colback’s career prospects look bleak until January following the close of the transfer window for Premier League and Championship clubs.
League One and League Two outfits can still add to their squads but Colback will feel he has too much quality to drop to that level.
European clubs are still eligible to reinforce until at least the end of the month with varying transfer deadlines across the continent.