This is Steve Bruce's 'perfect ending' at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce hopes the Newcastle United job will be his last in management – as that would be the “perfect ending”.

Bruce’s side take on Crystal Palace, managed by 72-year-old Roy Hodgson, at St James’s Park this afternoon.

United’s 58-year-old head coach – who started out in management 21 years ago – has no intention of following in Hodgson’s footsteps and managing into his 70s.

“Definitely, definitely not,” said Corbridge-born Bruce, who has been a manager for 922 games.

Steve Bruce.

“I have huge respect for Roy for what he has done and achieved, how he has maintained that enthusiasm. I know football gives us a great life, it’s the enthusiasm. Doing the same thing every day, day in and day out is remarkable.

“I can’t see myself doing that until that age. Although being the sad man I am, you never know! But I can’t see it.”

Bruce – who signed a three-year deal at St James’s Park in the summer following the departure of Rafa Benitez – believes he will know when it’s the right time to give up management.

“There has to come a time,” said Bruce. “It’s like when you are a player – you know when it is time. That enthusiasm and drive, you lose that little edge. I’m determined to have some sort of retirement.”

The perfect ending for Bruce – who has guided Newcastle up to 11th in the Premier League – would be a long and successful spell his boyhood club, as that would take him up to retirement.

“If it ended next month (at United), I’m not ready to walk away from anything,” said Bruce. “I genuinely hope that it is (the last job).

“The average lifespan for all managers now is 18 months, like it or lump it. I hope I can more than 18 months, I hope I can do three, four or five years. If I do that, then possibly it’ll be the last one. It would be the perfect ending.”

Bruce’s appointment in the summer had been met with a lukewarm reception on Tyneside.

Meanwhile, United are unbeaten in seven Premier League home games. Bruce said: “Home form, it’s important that it stacks up.”