Sometimes I wonder whether Steve Bruce is the human equivalent of goldfish when he makes comments such as he did, when questioned about the links to Hamza Choudhury.
Bruce was asked during the pre-Everton press conference about potential names linked to Newcastle, to which he replied “you’ll not get an answer” before going to answer…
This contradictory babble continued when Choudhury’s name was mentioned as someone we would like to sign and Bruce answered with “it’s somebody we’ve liked, it’s been reported, but as I said I’m never gonna speak about anybody else’s players, I think that would be wrong, but it’s somebody who we do like, yes.”
So, basically Bruce has just answered with “I’m not going to tell you, but yes.”
No one tell Bruce your secrets!
I’ve got to say, this sort of behaviour and speech is why I don’t think Steve Bruce could ever be a successful manager. He cannot help but contradict and stumble over tired cliches whenever he speaks, so you have to question what he actually says to the players when planning how to win a game of football. Although, Jack Grealish has given us insight into that with the “Steve would throw the ball in the middle in training and say “let’s play” like we were under-9’s.” quote…
This whole Choudhury transfer saga is one of the strangest ones I can think of when it comes down to player and manager relationship, yet it seems he’s the most likely to arrive before 11pm Monday – especially when Rodgers sounded confident about signing a replacement (which would allow Choudhury to leave) after their 3-1 defeat to Leeds on Sunday.
Choudhury, of course, is the player who performed what many to consider an absolute horror tackle on Matt Ritchie, during a cup game last season. Ritchie came away extremely injured from that challenge and it led to Steve Bruce criticising the tackle.
At the time, Bruce said:
“It’s a horror challenge.
“The ref is five yards away…
“It wasn’t good.
“It was awful, over the top.”
Newcastle were then linked to a Choudhury loan deal by various sources just three months afterwards…
You can’t imagine that a still injured, Matt Ritchie, would have been best thrilled about the potential signing of someone who didn’t even apologise for the tackle when questioned about it.
You can see Choudhury’s thoughts on the tackle and his response to Bruce’s comments here:
This interview is part of the reason that I don’t go all in on saying Bruce is the human equivalent of a goldfish, because part of me wonders whether the reason Bruce wants Choudhury is because his ego has been stroked a little…
This quote “And for Steve Bruce to say – I know he was a tough-tackling defender in his day, so people are quick to forget how he played football.” strikes me as the sort of thing that Bruce would love to hear. He is someone who loves to harken back to his successful days as a player (because God knows he hasn’t had many as a manager) and I really, truly believe that a player mentioning his glory days is enough for him to become interested in signing him.
The whole thing is steeped in irony too. Apparently one of the things that could lead to a successful signing of Choudhury is if Matt Ritchie leaves to Bournemouth.
I do think Choudhury could be a decent signing for us, as I believe we need a bit of nastiness and bite in midfield which he would provide, but I do wonder if his mooted signing is simply because of his ability or something linked to this original tackle.
Could Choudhury’s “horror challenge” be a reason Bruce wants to sign him? I would bet against it.