Team news: Three changes at Villa Park as Willock makes second debut
Written by Dan King
Joe Willock will make his second bow for Newcastle United at Villa Park this afternoon (kick-off 3pm BST) - with the midfielder one of three changes from the side beaten by West Ham United on the opening day of the season.
With Jonjo Shelvey missing out due to a calf injury, Willock will get the chance to score for the eighth successive Premier League game following his stunning finish to last term. He completed a permanent move to the Magpies from Arsenal last week.
Lascelles missed the 2020/21 run-in with a foot injury, while Schär helped Switzerland reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 and both have therefore had somewhat disrupted pre-seasons, but Steve Bruce has now deemed them fit enough to start.
Freddie Woodman makes his second Premier League start in goal, behind a backline of Lascelles, Schär and Federico Fernández. Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie continue as wing-backs, with the pair combining brilliantly for United's second goal against West Ham last weekend.
Isaac Hayden will be tasked with bringing steel and discipline to the Magpies' midfield with Willock and Miguel Almirón likely to be afforded more freedom to support Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, who got off the mark for the season after five minutes against the Hammers six days ago.