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Opinion

Why Steve Bruce is not as daft as he looks

7 months ago
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I don’t want this to come across as a slander piece on Steve Bruce…..

I would though just like us to pause and think about the sheer quality of the work Rafa Benitez did at Newcastle before he left last summer.

Work good enough to ensure that Newcastle United have the prospect of future success with the solid foundations that Benitez laid and then Bruce gleefully inherited.

The team we see today is the work of a master craftsman. Someone who put together a very efficient and defensively solid Premier League squad on a shoestring. Within a structure where his hands were tied in terms of funds and player sales.

Its strange the way people keep comparing and contrasting ‘Rafa’s team to ‘Bruce’s’ team. This is pointless as this is still Rafa’s team!!!

Steve Bruce is not as daft as he looks and has (up until recently) adopted the same tactics, players and systems that Benitez used, with the squad achieving similar results on the field. Although just what would have happened had Benitez been allowed to carry out the necessary work on his promising squad is another point!

Rafa did such an excellent job at Newcastle that I believe Ashley knew that he could afford to coast for a season or two with an experienced less successful Manager such as Steve Bruce. Here is a team of Benitez buys (or in the case of Sean Longstaff, a player he helped to develop) that have all featured consistently throughout the season and been instrumental to Bruce’s success.

Dubravka £4Million:

If you have seen a better Goalkeeper anywhere for £4 million, please tell me? Absolute masterstroke from Benitez finding a keeper of such quality and at 31, many years left at the top.

Manquillo £4.5Million:

Another bargain basement purchase and another solid and reliable squad member.

Fernandez £6Million:

Argentine international Centre Back with 32 caps for his nation. Amazing value and experience that means our back line has always got quality to rotate or step in when needed.

Clark £5Million:

Shrewd piece of business by Benitez in my opinion, one of our most underrated performers this season. Part of the rebuilding project when we dropped to the championship but ultimately a player that will always serve us well.

Yedlin £5Million:

Buccaneering full back who seems to have suffered his fair share of injuries. Although I do believe he’s been good value and occasionally he looks like our main threat down the right side.

Hayden £4million:

Signing from Arsenal.

Question: how much would he go for now?

Answer: Definitely more than £4Million!!!

A player that Bruce has heavily relied on this season.

Almiron £20Million:

The ball carrying forward is essential to the team’s counter attacking style and since the Paraguayan has come in, Newcastle have always been in the top 10 of the form table. Bargain.

Ritchie £12million:

One of my favourite NUFC players!

Aggressive, quality, leader, assists, goals…well!?!?

I’d imagine Benitez can be frustrating for a player like Ritchie but surely one of Rafa’s best buys and again, value.

Gayle £10Million:

At the time of writing, in the three seasons since Gayle has been a Newcastle Player, he has scored 52 Goals in 110 games. Admittedly two of the seasons were in the Championship (one with WBA on loan) but again superb value and service to the club. Could yet still feature more for Bruce and the goals will come.

Lejeune £8.7Million:

Technical centre-back with size and power and an eye for a goal.

Like Almiron, it always seems like his name on the team sheet coincides with good results and performances. Very unlucky with injuries.

Sean Longstaff Academy Graduate:

Although not a Benitez purchase, Longstaff definitely benefited from the guidance of Benitez.

Handed his debut by the Spaniard, the lad from Shields has featured less than we would have liked recently but still an asset to the team when he has played.

Thanks for reading.

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