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Mike Williamson Exclusive: Bruce respected in Newcastle dressing room

Former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson has given his verdict on the club's current manager Steve Bruce.

Williamson is remembered fondly by Newcastle fans for his outstanding and calm displays in the heart of their defence for several seasons.

The English centre-back played for the Magpies from 2010 to 2016, before leaving for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Many Magpies fans were disappointed when the club failed to renew the contract of Rafa Benitez in the summer, replacing him with Bruce instead.

The new season has been a predictable struggle for Newcastle, though results are on the upturn - particularly after victory at West Ham United on Saturday.

While most fans were expecting a tough season, they do not feel Bruce has the same managerial pedigree as Benitez, who successively kept them in the Premier League on a shoestring budget.

In an exclusive interview with Tribalfootball, ex-defender Williamson insists Bruce is well liked in the Magpies dressing room.

Williamson, now Gateshead player-manager, said: "Newcastle have been a massive part of my life. My thoughts on Newcastle is that it's an amazing club and it's a challenge that somebody like Steve Bruce, a homegrown guy, would not be able to turn down.

"Every single meeting I've come across with Steve Bruce I can only speak very, very highly of him.

"He's a genuine nice guy who loves football and a lot of people have told me how much he is respected within the changing room.

"It's also going to be a difficult situation following the appointment of Rafa Benitez with kind of expectation and things like that.

"But the fact is he is just a genuine and honest guy and I think it's going to take him time but so long as he gets that opportunity then he's got every chance of succeeding."

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Ansser Sadiq

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