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Steve Bruce plays down Newcastle United speculation

Steve Bruce plays down Newcastle United speculation
© Reuters
The 58-year-old was installed as the bookmakers' favourite on Tuesday.

Steve Bruce has played down speculation linking him with the vacant manager's job at Newcastle.

The 58-year-old Sheffield Wednesday boss found himself installed as the latest bookmakers' favourite – some even suspended betting – to replace Rafael Benitez on Tuesday as it emerged that the Magpies are considering him among a series of candidates for the post.

Asked about the rumours at the Owls' Portugal pre-season training base, Corbridge-born Bruce told the Sheffield Star: "It's news to me.

Steve Bruce became favourite for the Newcastle job
Steve Bruce became favourite for the Newcastle job (Joe Giddens/PA)

"God only knows what happened on Tuesday afternoon. There seemed to be an upsurge [in the betting] from somewhere.

"John Terry was favourite yesterday. It was Mikel Arteta the day before, so who knows?

"As far as I am concerned, I am here, I am going home tomorrow and looking forward to walking the dog."

Bruce's comments came after a series of potential replacements, including Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard, had effectively ruled themselves out of contention, while Sheffield United's Chris Wilder signed a new contract on Tuesday evening.

Rafael Benitez has taken up a role in China
Rafael Benitez has taken up a role in China (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Newcastle are keen to make an appointment before they head off to China for the Premier League Asia Trophy at the weekend, but time is running down fast.

Meanwhile, Benitez has aimed a thinly-disguised barb at owner Mike Ashley in a blog looking back over his first week as manager of Chinese side Dalian Yifang.

He wrote: "Since the moment of our arrival, we have really been touched by the kindness and respect that we have been shown. Our hosts have treated us with great consideration and are always keen to make us happy.

"As we all know from experience, in football, just as in everyday life, when people show you respect and affection and do everything they can to make things easier for you, life is much happier, even when you face difficult moments.

"I must say that I have had more meetings with the chairman, the president and the general manager this week than I had in three years at Newcastle.

"They haven't just been work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the differences and similarities in our cultures."

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