Jack Wilshere has revealed Steve Bruce tried to sign him at Aston Villa, and defended the Newcastle boss as someone who ‘knows football’.
Bruce’s position as Newcastle manager appears to be hanging by a thread with conflicting reports on whether he will be in charge of the team against Tottenham on Sunday for his 1,000th game in management.
There are also claims that new 10% co-owner Amanda Staveley is waiting for the green light to sack Bruce from the club’s new Saudi-led majority ownership.
The purchase of the club by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund reportedly makes Newcastle the richest football club in the world, but Bruce is not seen as the man to begin the new era.
But even before the takeover Bruce had fallen out of favour with supporters who have been demanding his exit from the club, with 89% voting for his departure in a poll.
Former Arsenal, Bournemouth and West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has defended Bruce, and revealed he was massively impressed with the 60-year-old when they discussed a potential move to Villa Park in 2017.
“It’s harsh,” Wilshere told talkSPORT. “I’ve never worked with him, I’ve played with players who have played for him and have nothing but good things to say about him.
“I actually spoke to him once one summer when he was at Villa, he wanted to take me there.
“It was when I came back from Bournemouth and I wasn’t in the Arsenal team and he wanted to take me there.
“He was brilliant, it was a ten-minute phone call and I came off the phone thinking ‘wow, this guy knows football’ he’s a football man.
“It’s a tough job at Newcastle at the minute and I think he’s done a good job, he kept them up.”
Bruce has been at St James Park since 2019, starting on the back foot after replacing fan favourite Rafael Benitez in the dugout.
He’s also done himself no favours having managed arch-rivals Sunderland in the past which has also displeased supporters.
talkSPORT host Darren Bent played for Bruce during his time at the Stadium of Light, and again complimented the Englishman who he managed a 24-goal league season under.
“Yeah I had good times with him, I had my best ever Premier League goal scoring season under him and he’s a good guy,” Bent said.
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