This what Steve Bruce had to say about the Newcastle United job after Rafa Benitez's exit

Steve Bruce is the new favourite to succeed Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

Bruce has been backed from around 33/1 into evens with two bookmakers after a flurry on bets on his appointment.

The boyhood Newcastle fan – who managed Sunderland earlier in his career – is manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

Corbridge-born Bruce was previously considered for the post before Steve McClaren was appointed in 2015. He also came close to succeeding Sir Bobby Robson at United in 2004.

Asked about speculation linking him with the job by Radio Sheffield last weekend, Bruce said: “Maybe because I’m from Newcastle. I never take any notice of all that sort of speculation or tittle-tattle, because the way the newspapers are today, no disrespect, I think there have been 150 managers associated with Newcastle. I would suppose I’m going to be one of them.”

Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, had been looking to make an appointment last week amid a backlash on Tyneside against the club’s failure to agree a new contract with Benitez.

Charnley was away on club business last week, and it is understood that there was an issue with one leading managerial target.

Nice manager Patrick Vieira has ruled himself out of the running, while Steven Gerrard, in charge of Rangers, last night dismissed speculation linking him with the job as “fake news”. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, also linked with the post, is not looking to leave his job during the Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

Mike Ashley.

Northern Ireland manager and former United midfielder Michael O’Neill has been mooted as an alternative option.