Ryan Fraser is ready to start a new chapter at Newcastle after being “battered” over his decision to sit out Bournemouth’s vain battle against relegation.
The 26-year-old midfielder was in the firing line on his return from lockdown when, with his Cherries deal about to expire and the Magpies waiting, he declined to sign a short-term contract extension.
Speaking as he was unveiled by the Tyneside club yesterday after signing a five-year contract, Fraser said: “I made the decision not to play and got battered for it.
“Everyone has got their opinions, but, at the end of the day, I need to look after myself. My contract was done, so it’s not like I refused to play any games.
“If the virus didn’t come, I would have played every game under my contract.
“Some lads in the Premier League signed an extension, and fair play to them. But for me, at my age, knowing that this club wanted me, it was just a decision I had to make.”
The Cherries’ five-year stay in the Premier League came to an end on the final day of an extended campaign despite a 3-1 win at Everton and Fraser, who revealed he has met ex-boss Eddie Howe and spoken to his replacement Jason Tindall since and there are no hard feelings, insists he was devastated.
He said: “I was gutted. With the years I had there coming from League One to the Premier League, it was never how I wanted to end it.”
Fraser, who hopes to debut at West Ham on Saturday, is focused on launching a new phase of his career at St James’ Park and regaining his spot in the Scotland squad for next month’s Euro 2020 play-off against Israel and the Nations League fixtures with the Czech Republic and Slovakia right after.