‘I thought he wanted the Man Utd job’ – Bruce warned he faces ‘massive challenge’ at Newcastle

The legendary Magpies striker has revealed that his calls for a fellow Geordie not to take the reins at St James' Park fell on deaf ears

Steve Bruce has been warned that he faces a “massive challenge” if he does become the man to succeed Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.

The Magpies are seemingly edging ever closer to bringing a Northumberland native back to the north east, with it widely reported that Bruce has handed in his resignation at Hillsborough.

A compensation package is also said to have been agreed between the Magpies and Owls.

The path appears to be clear for Bruce, who has previously worked at the likes of Sunderland and Aston Villa, to return to a Premier League dugout.

He will, however, face a tough test appeasing a loyal Benitez fan base at St James’ Park, with former Magpies star Chris Waddle expecting there to be a few bumps in the road.

He told The Mirror: “The Newcastle job is a massive ­challenge for Steve Bruce.

“Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle are a huge club, but he’s having to follow ­Benitez, who has been one of the most popular ­managers they’ve ever had.

“So he’s got his work cut out – it’s the biggest job he’s taken on.”

Ex-England international Waddle added on the choices made by Newcastle and former Manchester United defender Bruce: “I would have thought that Old Trafford would have been the job he has always wanted.

“He’s managed Sunderland too, of course, which the Newcastle fans will pick up on very quickly.

“I don’t think he’s scared of a c­hallenge, and he’s had some success at a few clubs, and not much success at others.

“I like the bloke. He talks a lot of sense and wants his players to work hard. He knows the Geordie public, which will stand him in good stead.

“If he keeps Newcastle up, he will have done well. But he’s not daft – if it isn’t working out, he’ll ­expect a lot of pressure from the fans and the owner.”

Newcastle have found themselves back in the market for a new manager after failing to reach an agreement with Benitez regarding an extension to his contract.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss has since signed a lucrative deal with Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.