Steve Bruce has confirmed Newcastle legend Alan Shearer told him to turn down the offer to become the Magpies’ new head coach.
Shearer, who remains the club’s record goalscorer, revealed in his newspaper column for the Sun earlier this week that he advised the former Sheffield Wednesday boss to reject the Premier League side’s advances if they came calling for his services following Rafa Benitez’s exit at the end of last month.
However, speaking at a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday, Bruce insisted he simply could not accept Shearer’s advice – and says he is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
He said: “Well, make no mistake, Alan is a big, big friend of mine and he’s welcome to his opinions, but I would like to think I am my own man.
“As I’ve said many times, I understand the challenge that lies ahead. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea; I am not Rafa Benitez, so whoever was going to sit in this seat was going to find it difficult.
“However, I’m confident enough that with my experience and the people I have brought with me, that we’ll continue to take the club forward, and that’s why I’m sitting in the position I’m in right now.”
Bruce is well aware that his appointment has not gone down well with a section of the Toon Army, but he is pleased to have a chance to prove himself.
He said: “I don’t read it because if you want to take it personally and read and scrutinise everything that’s thrown your way, then you would end up in a mad house.
“Just judge me over the period of time, and I’m quietly confident after maybe 400 games in the Premier League that I’ll do okay.”
Bruce accepted his dream job after resigning from his post at Sheffield Wednesday, sparking a wrangle over compensation which remains unresolved with the Owls taking legal advice.
He said: “I’d like to put it out there that a manager’s contract is a manager’s contract.
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“When it’s terminated, compensation should be due, and that applies to when a manager wants to leave or hands in his resignation.
“I am disappointed about that because I thought that was in hand. However, it’s football and I wish them the best of luck in the future.
“As I’ve said many, many times, it was the challenge and the chance to go and manage Newcastle United, the great club that it is, that was the overriding factor for me to be as selfish as I was.”
Newcastle face West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy third-place play-off on Saturday, but behind the scenes, work is ongoing to rebuild the squad with strikers the main priority.
Bruce’s job title of head coach suggests he may not have the influence Benitez wanted over signings, but the former Manchester United defender insists that is not the case.
He said: “The big one, of course, is what you’re insinuating there, am I in charge of transfers or am I just going to sit there and be a puppet? That won’t happen.”