Bruce: Players must show responsibility or they risk alienating fans

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The Independent Football

Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, has warned football's millionaire players they are alienating themselves from the working-class communities from which they emerged.

Bruce has spent part of this week dealing with the fall-out from defender Titus Bramble's arrest during the early hours of Wednesday morning over allegations of sexual assault and possession of a class A drug.

The 30-year-old, who was taken in for questioning barely 24 hours after the club's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Norwich, has been suspended by Sunderland as they carry out their own investigation and will not be involved in the club's home game against West Bromwich Albion today.

Bruce said: "Most footballers come from the same working-class background and have that respect for where they come from and the people who are still there.

"Unfortunately now with the rewards they get, some alienate themselves and should show more responsibility. Certainly in Titus's case – as you know there is a police investigation – but I don't think he should be in that position anyway.

"I don't think any footballer should be in a nightclub on a Tuesday night – or Monday night or Wednesday night for that matter, not with a game on a Saturday, especially after the way you have just been beaten on the Monday night.

"In my day, the vast majority of people I played with would have put their head down, gone into the bunker and said: 'I'm going to train hard and put it right on Saturday'."

The allegations against Bramble have proved an unwelcome distraction during a week which has seen the pressure shift firmly back on to Bruce's shoulders as a result of the defeat at Carrow Road.

He now desperately needs a result against Albion but is adamant he will not allow it to derail his mission to turn the club's season around. He said: "It's what managers do these days, it happens. I am just pleased [Manchester City manager] Roberto Mancini is having a little bit of stick as well.

"I have been doing this a long time and have been let down many times by certain players. It makes me more determined, if you like. Through diversity, sometimes, comes a reaction. I hope so, anyway."

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