Steve Bruce addresses Rafa Benitez transfer decision at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce has spoken about the decision to sell Adam Armstrong ahead of the striker’s return to St James’s Park.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 6:00 am
Adam Armstrong celebrates scoring for Southampton on his debut against Everton.

Armstrong, sold by then-Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez to Blackburn Rovers three years ago, is expected to lead the line for Southampton tomorrow.

The 24-year-old was signed by Ralph Hassenhuttl in a £15million deal this summer following a prolific three years at Ewood Park, and some fans have questioned whether it had been right to sell Armstrong in 2018 given his potential.

Bruce, for his part, likened the decision on Armstrong to that taken on Ivan Toney, who was sold the same summer to Peterborough United. Also a striker, Toney, 25, won promotion to the Premier League with Brentford last season.

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“There must’ve been a decision made at that time of ‘is the kid ever going to be good enough to be Newcastle’s centre-forward?’,” said head coach Bruce.

"Obviously, the decision to sell him, in fact the decision to sell any of the young players – we’ve seen it with Ivan Toney as well – is a decision you have to look at very, very carefully.

“I haven’t had the privilege to work with Adam, but I’ve seen him play on numerous occasions, and since he’s left Newcastle, he’s done very, very well for himself.

"I’m sure it’s a huge game for him coming back to his boyhood club.

"They’re the decisions that managers have to make, and obviously the previous manager must have thought that he wasn’t quite ready to play for Newcastle.”

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