Issac Hayden has become the latest player to come out and wax lyrical about Steve Bruce’s man management and people skills, suggesting ‘team spirit’ is better than ever.
The former Arsenal midfielder was indeed the first player to come out and try and put a positive slant on Bruce’s appointment, having spent a season on loan at Hull City with him in 2016/17.
Here’s what Hayden’s had to say about the squad’s morale, saying Bruce has created ‘even more’ togetherness within the group:
“The team spirit is massive here.
“The manager could see it the moment he walked through the door.
“The lads here all want to do well.
“Steve Bruce has got us together even more and made us better at it.
“You can now see that everybody is fighting for the same cause.
“We’re all trying to listen to what the manager wants us to do.
“We’re all trying to go in the same direction.”
Now call me a cynic but…….
It’s clear for everyone to see that this current Newcastle squad has togetherness and team spirit. It was there in abundance before Bruce arrived. It exists because the man who assembled the squad was world class and knew exactly what he was doing. I promised myself that I would draw a line under talking about Rafa, because there simply isn’t any comparison between him and Bruce, but I’m sorry I just can’t ignore some of these quotes by Hayden.
These are the fundamentals of any professional sports team, not gifts bestowed on this group of players by Steve Bruce. Clearly the fact Bruce is a nice bloke and the players like him is a good thing, but Hayden’s quotes aren’t particularly backed up by any marked improvement in team spirit, organisation or work rate this season in matches.
There are several other examples of Bruce displaying more of a human touch than his predecessor. The players all eat together now. Unwanted players such as Colback and Saivet are training with the first team, rather than being banished to train with the U23’s. Even Jonjo Shelvey has praised Bruce for his warmth even when dropping him from the team.
You can definitely see Bruce adopting more of an “arm around the shoulder” style. A style Steven Gerrard once famously said Rafa Benitez lacked. Then again Gerrard has also frequently and recently repeated that Rafa was the best tactician he ever played for, and the biggest influence on his fledging managerial career.
Like I said, it’s obviously a good thing the players like Steve Bruce and there’s a positive mood in the camp. It does seem genuine, but will that reap rewards on the pitch? Former players and pundits alike can’t seem to shut up about what a nice guy Bruce is whenever he comes under fire for poor results and performances. Unfortunately, there’s an old adage about nice guys and where they finish, let’s hope it isn’t true come May.