Steve Bruce ‘not good enough’ to manage in the top flight, says ex-Magpie Chopra

Former Magpies academy graduate Michael Chopra has spoken out against the appointment of Steve Bruce as the replacement for outgoing Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez. It seemed that the city of Newcastle in its entirety was imploring the Magpies’ hierarchy to sign up Benitez to a long-term deal, but alas it wasn’t to be. Chopra has since spoken out in a bid to represent the widely-held view on Tyneside that Steve Bruce wasn’t the calibre of replacement the fans were hoping for after the announcement of Benitez’ departure.

Bruce, who controversially resigned from his former post at Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to complete his switch to St. James’ Park, was labelled “mediocre” in a recent interview with Michael Chopra. The Newcastle-born ex-pro understood Bruce’s reasons for taking the role on given that he is “a Newcastle fan” himself. However, Chopra said that it was difficult for the supporters to take as they’ve “gone from Rafa Benitez, a world-class manager” and “one of the best in Europe” to Steve Bruce, who Chopra labelled a “mediocre Championship manager now”. Chopra insisted that Bruce wasn’t “good enough for the Premier League anymore – especially Newcastle United”. Chopra also touched upon the fact that Bruce was by no means owner Mike Ashley’s first choice replacement for Benitez. He added that “Sam Allardyce turned it [the vacancy] down so they’ve had to go to Brucey”. Given that Ashley appears to have made his bed with regards to Bruce’s appointment, Chopra has called on the club’s highly controversial owner to have the courage of his convictions to back Bruce with a sufficient war chest to ensure United can maintain their Premier League status in 2019/20.

Michael Chopra in his latter playing days for Cardiff City

Chopra said that Ashley “has got to say he’s backing Bruce” and “spend £100 million plus” to in a bid to get “the fans back on side”. The disappointment of losing Spanish striker Ayoze Perez has been recently tempered by the £40m arrival of Joelinton from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim. It was a club-record fee for the 22-year-old Brazilian, who agreed a six-year contract with the Magpies. Joelinton made his debut in a pre-season friendly at Preston North End, but the supporters are desperate for more headline signings in the days to come before the August transfer window closes.

Chopra also recently touched upon his time in a Newcastle shirt and his days in the Champions League. It seems a long time since the Magpies were finishing in the top four and being included in the Champions League tips for betting, with Premier League survival the number-one priority in 2019-20. One of the main shining lights for the Magpies faithful has been the introduction of some homegrown talent into the squad. Midfielder Sean Longstaff was arguably United’s player of the season last term, alongside Perez, resulting in the likes of Manchester United taking a keen interest in him. If Newcastle are ever to scale the heights of the Champions League once again, holding onto homegrown talent is a must, and Steve Bruce has confirmed that Longstaff is not for sale at any price.

Longstaff and co. are in the midst of their pre-season preparations at present, with a tricky start to the 2019/20 Premier League season awaiting. Arsenal at home, Norwich away and Tottenham away are the first trio of league games. Chopra believes that if the Magpies fail to pick up points in any of these the writing could already be on the wall for the relationship between the supporters and Steve Bruce. He admitted that “once they’ve turned [Bruce] won’t be able to win them back”. Amid early-stage “Bruce Out” calls from supporters, Bruce himself has come out to reassure fans that he won’t be a “yes man” for Mike Ashley. Bruce said he was “too long in the tooth” to be a “puppet” for any football club owner and concluded by saying that Ashley had been “straight down the line” in terms of transfer dealings thus far.

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