'I’m surprised by it' - Ex-Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday winger Chris Waddle discusses Steve Bruce swapping Hillsborough for St James's Park

Former Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday winger Chris Waddle admits he’s surprised by Steve Bruce’s decision to swap Hillsborough for St James’s Park.

By Liam Kennedy
Monday, 15 July, 2019, 11:41

Bruce has reportedly resigned from the Championship club this morning, along with coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, as a move back to the Premier League and United nears.

And Waddle, speaking to the Mirror, doesn’t think Bruce will be intimidated by the challenge of taking on the Newcastle job, following on from fan favourite Rafa Benitez – but he has questioned the motives behind the move.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Ex Newcastle player and media pundit Chris Waddle looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on November 1, 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“The Newcastle job is a massive ­challenge for Steve Bruce,” said Waddle.

“Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle are a huge club, but he’s having to follow ­Benitez, who has been one of the most popular ­managers they’ve ever had.

“So he’s got his work cut out – it’s the biggest job he’s taken on.

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“He’s highly regarded at Wednesday, the fans have taken to him. He had a good run late in the season and nearly got them in the play-offs. Four or five more wins and they might have been ­in the top six.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Steve Bruce, Manager of Sheffield Wednesday looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday at The Den on February 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

“Everybody is expecting good things from Wednesday. They’re in pre-season and have been to Portugal and look fit, sharp and ready to go. So to go and speak to Newcastle, a lot of people are taking a step back and asking, ‘Why?’ They’ll be upset that he wants to leave. I’m surprised by it, too, because he was starting to build a team gearing up for the Premier League.”

Waddle continued: “I would have thought that Old Trafford would have been the job he has always wanted. He’s managed Sunderland too, of course, which the Newcastle fans will pick up on very quickly.

“I don’t think he’s scared of a challenge, and he’s had some success at a few clubs, and not much success at others.

“I like the bloke. He talks a lot of sense and wants his players to work hard. He knows the Geordie public, which will stand him in good stead. If he keeps Newcastle up, he will have done well.”