Bruce brings teen in to boss Sunderland forward line
Saturday 22 October 2011
For the second time in his football career, Steve Bruce is hoping to give the lie to the Alan Hansen dictum about winning nothing with kids.
Over the course of the 1995-96 campaign he was the veteran captain of the Manchester United team that successfully blended youth and experience to beat Newcastle to the Premier League title. Over 90 minutes at the Reebok Stadium this afternoon Bruce will be praying 18-year-old Connor Wickham can help to secure a victory that would relieve much of the pressure that has been mounting on the Sunderland manager.
Having won just once in their opening seven Premier League fixtures, Bruce's side are knocking on the door of the bottom three. Defeat at Bolton would probably push them over the threshold and in an attempt to avert that prospect the Sunderland manager is expected to give a first start to the teenage striker he signed from Ipswich for £8m in June.
"He has knocked on the door, asking what he has to do to get a chance," Bruce said of Wickham, who has made six cameo appearances off the bench. "He has not exactly said 'play me' but has asked what he has to do to get in. He will play a part to the season, without question. He has got all the physical attributes. He has got everything in the locker. But as I have said all along, he is young and I have had to protect him a little bit. I have not strayed from that but he is gradually learning and understanding what it is like to play in the Premier League. I think he needed a bit of time to settle into it."
Having deployed the diminutive Stéphane Sessègnon as a lone striker in the 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal last Sunday, Bruce is likely to start Wickham alongside Nicklas Bendtner, who was ineligible to play at the Emirates because of his loan status.
Latest in Sport
Didier Drogba went absolutely mental in the Chelsea dressing room after Blues were given the Premier League trophy
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Sam Allardyce sacked: West Ham wait just a few minutes after final game to axe manager
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger sets deadline for Theo Walcott contract talks with Liverpool keeping a close eye on his future
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland