Bruce was delighted with the player's quality and bravery in a match that otherwise had minimal talking points.
"Sometimes a centre-back doesn't get the recognition he deserves, but he really was a proper captain in this match. He was terrific," said Bruce, a long-serving member of the defenders' union from his playing days.
"He has a horrible, horrible cut now, a really nasty one. It's a cut over the eye but a bad one which is down to the bone. It might need internal stitches too.
"But he put in a fantastic performance and helped us get a clean sheet. I thought he was by far the most outstanding player on the pitch.
"He hasn't surprised me. For me to pay £2.25million is a lot of money. I've still got big connections at Birmingham and he's been their player of the year for the last two seasons, which is not easy to do for a centre-back."
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