The former Sheffield Wednesday chief left the Owls to take the Magpies job, and linked up with the squad in China last week. Ryder feels that the squad have really taken to Rafael Benitez’s replacement.
“The current crop of players have also accepted Bruce more quickly than I thought, with the club’s core group of seniors in Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett and Martin Dubravka all getting behind the new boss,” he wrote in The Chronicle.
“I’d never met Bruce personally before Friday but in the past figures I’ve got to know a little down the years, like Alan Shearer, Steve Harper, Bob Moncur, Lee Clark and Steve Watson all say the same about the Wallsend Boys Club product. They all say he’s a likeable and affable bloke who has bags of managerial experience.”
It is a bit of a surprise to hear that the Newcastle players have latched onto Bruce so quickly. By all accounts he is an affable guy and a good character, but you would have thought that plenty of the squad were still disappointed by Benitez’s acrimonious departure earlier this summer. However, it seems that the senior players in the Magpies squad have been won over already by the Geordie-bred manager. When you’re a manager coming into a club, it’s important that you come in and make a good impression on the senior players in the squad. Newcastle appear to have a strong group of players who lead by example, although it’s interesting to note that Ryder doesn’t mention captain Jamaal Lascelles. What’s interesting is that three of the four players Ryder mentions were first team regulars under Benitez. Shelvey aside, these aren’t disaffected players on the fringe of the first team, desperate for a new boss to come in. Yet they have really taken to Bruce. Go figure.