Villa returned to winning ways Saturday with a 3-0 win away to Barnsley. Albert Adomah had two, one from the spot, and Keinan Davis finally got his first senior goal, the one that had been so long coming. It was comfortable in the end and Villans finally got to enjoy a day of football without seeing anything truly upsetting.

So let’s break it down.

The Good
Three goals, three points. A clean sheet. Away. Cause for celebration, indeed. Beleaguered Steve Bruce got the result he, and the team, desperately needed, following two goalless draws.

Moreover, Villans saw Kodjia make his first start of the season, paired up with Keinan Davis. It was Davis actually leading the line, with Kodjia ranging far and wide in a free role. We’ll call it 4-4-1-1 for the sake of calling it something. Seems close enough.

Anyway, it was the right move from Bruce. Likewise keeping Hourihane in the side, and playing Adomah wide left in place of the unfortunate Andre Green. The attacking momentum that Green, Davis and Hourihane brought remained in place with Adomah in there, and was bolstered by the always threatening Johny Danger.

Kodjia, of course, was more than a bit rusty on the day, and probably will take a while to find the free-flowing form of last season. But getting Davis and Kodjia on the pitch together is the right idea, and credit to Bruce for making the selection.

New-boy Robert Snodgrass, while showing signs of rust himself, showed that he can be a valuable addition to the side. A willing runner, combative, committed, always looking to attack, never shirking his duties. He looks a man with something to prove.

Adomah, of course, had a very good game on the other side. Likewise full of running, unselfish, willing to take men on, and get back to cover. As Bruce noted, his attitude has been exemplary, and he took the opportunity to make his case very strongly.

Hourihane, while not featuring so much as an attacking force, played the midfield terrier very well, supporting attacks, defending, and was generally everywhere. Very good performance from him, again, and very encouraging to see the awareness he showed taking up a slightly different role.

Davis, for his part, had a fine day, indeed, playing the target man with strength, skill and threat. He was given a fair amount of attention by the defense, much of it a bit on the edge, but he handled it well, linking up play, giving Kodjia room to roam, and, of course, scoring himself. And that was a big goal for the lad. He’s come so close so many times, you knew it had to be coming, but it has to be a massive relief to him. Further, he earned the penalty that Adomah converted.

So…good set-up, good performances, good day. No complaints here.

The Bad
You know I’ve got to nit-pick, and few performances are ever perfect. First, it was Barnsley. And Glenn Whelan once again failed to really justify his inclusion relative to the performances of others. He works hard, he knows where to be, he’s committed. All good things. He just doesn’t have the range you’d like to see, or the physicality, and has been a bit error-prone. A Hourihane-Whelan midfield might well get overrun by a better side.

But that’s where tactics and team selection come in. We know Jedinak will be favored over Whelan in most instances, and I suppose if we were getting really defensive they might play together.

Villa were also a bit sloppy at times, and exposed down the flanks a bit. Adomah’s first was down to the Barnsley’s keeper, Davies, making a dreadful mistake, though Adomah did well to chase it down, get in the keeper’s head, and then calmly push it home. Not sure where the game would’ve gone without that breakthrough, or if Davis hadn’t been brought down.

But then, you never know these things. That’s what happened on the day, we made them pay, and that was that. Certainly brought a little balance to the ledger after a distinct lack of luck against Boro.

The Ugly
Don’t really know why the Barnsley crowd felt the need to throw bits of paper at us, but it was rather uncalled for. Unless they were looking to emphasize the need for a larger clean-up staff.

Final Verdict
I’m not going to overdo this: swallows, summer, corners, dawns, and green shoots. How many times have you read those words or typed them yourselves?

However, we did see a side that clearly weren’t playing to see Steve Bruce out the door. We saw a side that, to borrow an observation from yesterday’s comments, did start to show a bit of swagger once they were comfortable. We saw a side that looked cohesive, hard-working and full of potential.

For me, the key has been the emergence of Davis and Hourihane. They’ve given us a way to play in the middle of the park and take pressure off the wide men, bringing balance to the Force. Er, Villa. Hourihane’s energy and instincts, combined with a skillful hold-up man who will become a more regular scorer, bode very well for a fit Kodjia, who should find himself having to create from nothing much less often.

Moreover, the game plan for opponents will have to evolve. They won’t be able to focus on us playing down the wings and crossing to no one over 6 feet (okay, Davis is listed at 6-1). Davis will come in for a lot of attention, and he’s going to have some very tough days out there in his role. But there’s a quiet strength about him that I like the look of. The players’ reaction when he scored, never mind the fans’, said a lot…and might turn out to be something we look back on as a moment when we saw these players come together and start to believe. There did seem to be genuine comraderie.

Now, if Villa can catch this wave and ride it through the next few fixtures, we might have an actual starting XI, be further up the table, and one day be sharing fond memories of the Steve Bruce era with our children. Hey, you never know.

The main thing is that we’ve asked for signs of progress and we got one. Obviously much sterner tests lie ahead, but the favorable run of September fixtures is the perfect period for this side to settle in, gather some momentum and, dare I say it, confidence.

We’ve got Middlesboro again on Tuesday for the cup tie, and that should be a very interesting match. Dunno how serious Davis’s knock is, seemed to be the hip, Bruce said it was cramp, so I’d imagine we won’t be seeing him. But it does present a chance for the likes of O’Hare, Doyle-Hayes, and Scott Hogan to keep working together, and I, for one, will be more than curious to see the team selection. Bruce has enough talent at his disposal to field virtually two sides, and if the “B” team follows Adomah’s example, fights to impress and puts in another good performance, Bruce could find himself with selection headaches down the road.

So, well done the boys, and credit to Bruce for getting it right. Let’s hope Cardiff and Reading were just blips not be repeated against better sides than Barnsley, and give thanks for the circumstances that put Davis, Hourihane and Green together, pointing the way forward. We’ll leave Brentford at tired and jaded.

Over to you.

Comments 58

  1. JC, great leader. I agree with all, but feel you’re way too harsh on Whelan. I thought he was ok. With all the games I feel it will be an equal rotation between Whelan and Jedi.

    Johnstone in goal looks much better, but I still want Jed Steer to start. Just feel we dont need Johnstone.

    I hope Hepbum-Murphy comes back from injury soon. It was interesting to hear Bruce say that he’s the highest rated youngster at the club. He could be our super-sub with 20 mins left.

    Anyway, we’re right back in it. I’m still just looking at 6th place though.

  2. Hi JC good account and a fair one, you missed Davis’s part in Adomah’s first when he prevented the CB from heading the ball clear with good body strength, the pen looks a little like the CB got a foot to it as well, but as I said earlier thank you for gifts received.

    JL- From previous post RE: helping Bruce. I see it how I see it, if Bruce reads it and learns something I am helping 😉

    Never thought there was much to the Villa are a big club in this league but having seen two managers now in this league. One has managed Chelsea and some big players and although he was deemed a failure at least understood Villa should try to win, it is expected by the teams we face in this league as it was of Newcastle last season but it didn’t quite happen (poor chance conversion) and we had a poor base to start from.

    Bruce however comes from various underdog teams as a manager and his approach is very much the underdog tactic of defend deep and hit on the break. Maybe he came to that through necessity and the teams facing him having less expectation/fear of his clubs? His old Club Man utd never had that attitude. As JC mentioned in his leader he needs to find some different ways and I for one think we could dispense with the DM for a better ball player. Maybe Steve Bruce has to rely a lot less on small club mentality tactics? maybe he does not know how? maybe he can learn, maybe he can’t.

    Mourinho plays that way to a degree but his sides can mix it up, keep the ball if needed and pressure lesser teams when required, its only the big games he reserves the bus for.

  3. MK,

    we need a DM due to John Terry. If we still had Clark and Baker, then yes we could have 2 attacking midfielders. Can some explain why we let go of Ciaran Clark? Also Baker? Two lads coming into their prime and playing their best football over the next 7-10 years. In my mind those decisions were as bad as letting Cahill go…..stupid, stupid, stupid…

    I loved watching these lads, Clark and Baker, as they never shirked a tackle, 200% commitment for every game. I spoke to my Toon buddy yesterday. He reckons Clark is their best purchase in over 10 years.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I will let it go now

  4. Angel-8,

    Could be (on Whelan)…He’s the right idea, but for me the weakest link out there. Not because he’s a bad player (though Irish Villans don’t seem to rate his international performances) he just doesn’t seem quite up to owning his part of the pitch, which is why I assume he had been bypassed at Stoke.

    It seems the conventional wisdom is that stepping down a league evens things out for fringe PL players, but there’s a lot of youth, speed and energy in the Championship, and I’d like to see someone a little more formidable in his spot to help keep us from being caught out.

  5. Angel_8

    You make a very good point about Terry and needing a defensive midfielder.

    Clark’s comments after leaving about not getting good coaching were troubling. And my only issue with Baker was that he always seems to get injured, just can’t seem to rely on him being in there week-in, week-out.

    But you’re right, we’ve not done well bringing up CBs. When I look at the teams we play, theirs always seem to be younger, faster, bigger than ours. More able to push up, play much closer and more aggressively against our front men.

  6. angel_8- I hear you mate they got the blame for an awful lot in an awful time at Villa. I think we have maybe 3-4 who can come through and make it though, would like to see Suliman given a run with Chester in the cup.

  7. MK,

    Jackson might have gotten the slightest touch on the ball…But after a few replays, it was still hard to tell as the path and speed of the ball didn’t change, so I could see it being given fairly. And it probably balanced out the handball that I think should’ve been called when he was down on the carpet later on.

  8. JC- yes mate it was one of those, remember the first game last season against Sheff weds where bakers shirt was stretched at least two foot until he went down? nothing was given makes you wonder sometimes 🙂

  9. MK,

    Yeah, I never understand half those non-calls. Supposed to be automatic, but never are. Our guy has a handful of shirt, gets called, even whilst being bear-hugged to the ground. Don’t think the rip along the back top of Kodjia’s jersey was a kit failure, either. And Davis kept getting climbed all over.

    I suppose Davis will have to make more of a name for himself before they start giving him those calls.

  10. JC/MK, good comments. JC, yea I noticed Davis getting climbed over a few times and the ref let it go. I guess they were trying to bully our 19 year old. Makes sense. However, our young lad has balls. Thats what playing non league does to you!!

    Going back to Whelan, if I was Bruce I would not have signed him and asked Gardner to play the role of DM. Gardner has a huge engine. Not sure what happened to him….maybe ego.

    I think he’s just out on a season loan? I hope so as I believe in him

  11. angel_8,

    Perhaps we’re forgetting what happened at VP up to 2016? That’s why Clark went, surely. He just got fed up.

    As for Baker… I liked him too, but he was prone to the odd gaff.

  12. JC- You could be right the officials these days particularly the refs do seem to think they are part of the spectacle, For instance how does JT get treated by them at this level? not giving a decision in what seems an attempt to even up a wrong one earlier are Fairly blatant at times.

    How do you feel about the cup? I want to keep going and I would like us to get some prem opponents just as a marker, Hopefully Bruce wont do what he did against spurs reserves this time.

  13. MK,

    You still seem to ignore the state of the club even through RdiM’s time.

    And Bruce says the club is still not completely over it.

    I prefer Bruce’s version – he’s closer to what’s going on for one thing.

  14. angel_8- I think Gardner needs a manager to believe in him he’s been through a lot, forgot he is at Barnsley but could not play against us, looked ok at DM against Wigan with plenty of movement around him, lets face it he has played for some fairly poor Villa sides.

  15. JL- Not at all, can’t see how you come to that conclusion of course things were not great, I even suggested a sports physiologist. Under RDM at the time it was worse as Gabby and Richards were the new Bomb squad, we had the crowd used to booing from the previous season and Dr Xia’s bid for world dominance. Would of been better for all if we could of got rid of a lot of the players, we didn’t . Doesn’t mean that there are not other factors just as important, you yourself seem to think its all about that and thats fine I just don’t believe that at this juncture its as valid.

  16. JL- yes good points although the Mcleish era was when that happened wasn’t it? he was just being looked at and got injured for the U21’s he’d also made the England U21’s I think

  17. just have to post this, good old ShaunTeale never minces his words 🙂

    shaun teale‏ @ShaunTeale 23h23 hours ago
    Redknapp sacked laughing my cock off …go and crawl back under your stone saggy bollock face

  18. Gardner has no excuse in my view. Step up lad. You can be a Bryan Robson.

    Shaun Teale, Rambo, …and others…stop, you’re making me cry. Since we talk of greats, there’s a documentary on Paul McGrath on NBC. Unbelievable! He came in so hung over to one game that he couldnt tie his boots…went out and was man of the match. He said when he came in hung over he felt guilty, and gave extra effort to win every ball.

    Man U and Ferguson offered McGrath 100k to retire. Never play football again. McGrath accepted it as he had no advisor….then the PFA turned up and asked Paul what he wanted. He said ‘I just want to play football’…..and Villa offered him a lifeline. They only real money he made was at Villa

  19. MK: “you yourself seem to think its all about that”

    Of course not. But at the same time you don’t seem to factor in the atmosphere in the club.

    We have said that it’s not worth going back over those days up to this year, but it keeps on recurring.

    Best we start afressh. Footie started in August, 2017 as far as the modern era goes, OK? 🙂

  20. MK: “Talking of Twitter how significant is it that The doc has said nothing after that win?”

    Hasn’t he said that September is a big month?

    I think he’s keeping quiet now until the month is over. Then we’ll hear from him.

  21. JL- RE: the doc, thats exactly what I mean he’s keeping his powder dry, I have to say Bruce is doing himself no favours with these continued mentioning’s of mass hysteria. Can’t understand it as he had the same at Brum when they came down and had a bad run. As this is a new Season and had been hyped up yet again as to our intentions, quality of our players etc the reality has been somewhat less than promised. Why does he not just explain why he thinks we are close? better still keep his mouth shut and not get involved.

    Seems just like the RMC incident he can’t take criticism from the media and seeks to get one in first. If this game at Barnsley turns out to be a short lived uplift he’s going to invite even more criticism. Same goes for the JT hysteria over an good/average performance at Barnsley where he barely left our box.

    Harry Rednapp is apparently still saying he would of got brum into the prem??

  22. Wonder what Round thinks of his nonsense academy? 🙂 Think Villa could do with a script writer

    “‘I thought John Terry was absolutely fantastic,’ said Villa manager Steve Bruce. ‘He rolled back the years and, stupid as it sounds, John will only get better.’

    The same is true of Davis, who was playing for Biggleswade after being released by Stevenage when he was spotted by Villa.

    Bruce said: ‘Keinan’s young and a bit of a throwback who hasn’t come through all the nonsense of the academies. He’s had to fight and didn’t give up.”

  23. Elmo should have got a mention in your leader JC, played the ball that got us the peno and played the ball that Davis scored from but nonetheless a great round up of the day.

    I think Bruce needs to drop the mass hysteria tagline, we’ve got the message, you or someone close to you is providing you with the social media debate whereby one set of fans believe rightly or wrongly that Villa have shown something that warrants your retention and perhaps a poor Barnsley side is a reflection of that whereas another set of fans think you are a dinosaur, lacking tactical nous and has more than sufficient time to build a team that should be playing better football than it has. Only wins will calm the debate down and that is down to Bruce and how he sets his team out, we can no longer play one up top, Kodija’s return and Davis’s form prevent that thank god. We have the forward players capable of scoring and scoring quickly, probably have reversed our previous stability at the back, the Terry/Chester partnership was entirely untroubled by anything thrown at them but will face sterner tests.

    I may get my Kevin Keegan style of football yet although never thought it would be under Bruce.

    MK, said it before don’t expect to learn anything from Bruce about the game either through poor/obvious questioning or Bruce’s inability to be articulate or provide more detailed analysis.

  24. The way he keeps talking makes me wonder whats been said indoors?

    ‘The one thing you can’t get now, unfortunately, is time. The more time the bigger stamp you can put on the club and they can improve,’ he said.

    ‘Whether it’s me or whoever is going to manage Aston Villa, it needs stability for three or four years.’

  25. wonder what the Borough game will bring? Are Borough that bothered and will we field a second string? I reckon we will play snodders and Kodjia to give them some minutes. Question is if we put in a similar display to the Wigan game and beat Borough convincingly then what? Borough do have a decent U23 team too, its going to be very interesting. I think Clark may be banned. have the feeling Hutton will play though.

    Bree Elphick chester De-laet

    Snodgrass doyles-hayes Onamah thor/Adomah

    Ohare/ Kodjia


  26. Bruce and The Hysteria

    It’s my view (possibly I’m reiterating this) that Bruce has suffered the criticism he has partly through the frustrations of the previous 6+ years. But as we’re not supposed to be talking about that period I’d better shut up! 🙁

    Also I think some people have a view of Bruce based on his work at the previous clubs.

    I say just let him get on with what he’s doing – for this month at least. And I think he’s right, I can’t think of anyone else who could have dealt with the rubbish situation (that Bruce found) in a better way. Anyone else would have still made mistakes, I’m sure.

    September still has a long way to go, but Bruce’s future at VP probably depends on the month being a successful one. Why not give him chance to prove matters one way or the other.

  27. Very pleasing win yesterday. I agreed with Bruce after the Boro game that good things were just round the corner.

    We look so much better with Adomah. It was ludicrous of Bruce to leave him out earlier in the season. The back 5 (including the keeper) look very good and Cup Games aside, we should stick with them.

    I have been critical of Whelan but that was his best game in a Villa shirt to date. Hourihane continues to look the business and the team in general seems to pick itself now.

    When Jedinak came off last week after 45 mins, I presumed it was tactical. Is he injured again, because he wasn’t even on the bench?

    On a separate issue – I have just finished reading The Odd Man Out by Graham Denton. it’s about the managerial career of Ron Saunders and obviously mainly focusses on his time at Villa. A cracking read and I can highly recommend it. You can just download it straight onto your iphone from ITunes.

  28. JL- Not from me mate, I am judging him on his performance here and now, its a fact there are certain similarities to his other clubs performances but that would be expected I think with most managers, whether thats good or bad or a fit for Villa is another thing.

  29. Mark,

    With the cup, seems a useful exercise since we have so many players like Hogan, O’Hare, Doyle-Hayes, De Laet, Bree etc., Bruce talking about Elphick needing a game. So, would like to see us put out the second team and see how they do. If D-H can consistently provide Hogan the right kind of service, I’d be wanting to see that again, have that Plan B in my pocket.

  30. Jc – Bruce watched kodjia in the u23 match ohare was mom scored another cracker and both he and DH joined the senior squad for saturdays game. I think Jt has become an immovable feature for Bruce a more flexible back line and we could dump the DM for a more mobile ball player. That said DH and ohare have plenty of grit.
    I am finding myself wanting to stay in the cup enjoying the play way more than the league, heard snodgrass on the radio and said the players want to win which is good to hear.

  31. Whilst it would be great to include some youngsters, I think we need keep some of our out of favour players match fit as much as possible too. Some big guns on the bench would be nice in case they are needed.

    In theory we could name a very experienced team without playing anyone that started on Saturday.


    De Laet



    I don’t expect we will. I expect we will pitch in some youngsters like O’Hare instead of McCormack and Clark instead of Richards at the very least.

  32. Droyd- I would cry if we played that team, the youngsters have earned their places in the cup, they are a large part of why we are still in it. Still who knows with Mr Bruce.

  33. I would like to see a mixture of youth players and the ones I’ve mentioned.

    The problem with not playing certain players and completely freezing them out, is that it’s going to make it harder to get a reasonable fee or even be able to shift them at all.

    McCormack is a huge concern because he has 2 and a half years of his lucrative contract to go, with his value diminishing by the week as he doesn’t get any game time and progresses even further into his 30s.

    I forgot to mention Samba. No doubt he’ll play alongside Elphick.

  34. Droyd- I can see the logic but also feel we will regret not giving the youth players the experience. Bruce made a comment about academies and probably feels they don’t prepare the players enough for the mens game, he did compliment Keve mac and call him a dinosaur because he produced tough players though so maybe steve just likes to talk.

  35. Droyd- I was going to say what about Hogan? as a striker for the same money as RMC Bruce hasn’t got the best out of him either, thats about £24m of waste although a fancy another manager would not feel that way.

  36. MK
    Talking of RMC a little read of this might make us view him with a little more sympathy.

    Not me. Never mind the 8 years at 100K/week thats mentioned. How about 4 years at 40K/week. Do the maths. Thats 2.08m/year. Over 4 years thats 8.32m. After tax thats approx 4.5m. Invest that in some safe investment trusts earning 5% per annum and you have a salary of 225K/annum. Which is 50% more than the Prime Minister earns. Every year for the rest of your life while you play golf. That is more than enough to keep most girls on side. All you have to do is avoid drugs, booze, gambling and dodgy gate mechanisms.

    It’s enough to bring on a bout of mass hysteria.

  37. Plug- 🙂 you can do my finances mate

    JL- yep the moneys Tony worry the getting our moneys worth though is Bruce’s territory, he’s tried it with Gabby and Richards, I am sure there must be things said particularly if you buy a player behind closed doors.

  38. Hi all had no internet for a few days.
    Great result,I loved the tempo with which we played.Using 3 passes where before we used 5,never letting Barnsley settle.
    Davis is a revelation,big,strong,great feet,great awareness of Villa players around him,what a find,thank you Biggleswade FC.
    WELL DONE BRUCE,selection and tempo spot on.He’s had stick,mostly all deserved but he delivered on the day.COYVB.

  39. B6toBrasil
    Aye! 3 cheers for Biggleswade FC. Good on SB for having the faith to consistently select him too. We’ll soon see if SB consistently gets his team selections right from now on. Good on the younger guys for putting pressure on the more experienced to perform.

  40. Mark – On the subject of developing youth…

    Young players develop better when they are integrated into a team with experienced players. It will also give them confidence if they are part of a winning team.

    Bruce is currently integrating our young players better than any manager that I can recall this century. We have seen the emergence of Davis and Green becoming proper 1st team players. We are perhaps on the cusp of seeing Bree, O’Hare, Clark and Doyle-Hayes joining them in the next 12 months. That would be a very good return when you look at what we haven’t produced over the last 10 years.

    K-Mac has to take a lot of credit but many of our last few managers have either not played young players or integrated them at the wrong time. I like Bruce’s approach and the Cup match tonight is another great chance to give 3 or 4 of them an opportunity alongside some seriously experienced players to help them out.

    A blend of youth, experience and players in their prime is always desirable. I think Bruce is just starting to get this balance right.

    One rare talent (still not fulfilled) to come through over the last 5 years is Jack Grealish. It looks like he could be back in action a lot sooner than expected. He said he’ll be back soon, which is a huge boost.

  41. Droyd- for it’s been more case of necessity than desire on Bruce’s part. The doc said 19 seniors and the rest youth was agreed upon. The only definate starter was Onamah and maybe green. Like Tim before him he played the youth in pre-season but where were they come the first game? If gabby hadn’t hurt his back Davis wouldn’t of been involved let alone now crucial, I think you are giving him a bit to much credit there. As for the cups it’s an injury avoidance and reserve exercise. The only problem is they have shown the 1st how it’s done. Even hourihane was out in the cold until he played with them in the cup then suddenly he’s pushed forward, Lansbury was preferred. Good to see them but don’t think it’s a coscious thing by Bruce.

  42. MK: “for it’s been more case of necessity than desire on Bruce’s part.”

    Perhaps we’re drawing false conclusions?

    I wouldn’t claim to be able to see inside Bruce’s or Tony’s mind, nor a fly on the wall.

    My view is that Droyd is more right than wrong.

  43. Mark, I do agree that it started out as a necessity but he has stuck with our youth even when the seniors returned. From Green’s longer term injury and the Davis/Onomah’s niggles we see that their workload has to be balanced which I think SB is trying to do. So even though he’s stumbled into it, we have to give him due for sticking with them even after the two goalless draws.

  44. Yeah, I’m a bit on the side that Bruce wouldn’t have been playing anyone young besides Green and Onomah unless forced to. As you say, JL, can’t see inside his mind, but I think Mark’s right about Hourihane vs. Lansbury, and certainly Davis.

    Onomah walked straight into the squad, which almost seemed to indicate we’d made Spurs some sort of promise. Green wasn’t nailed on, Gabby being sidelined helped him, and then he really sort of grew into it against Norwich.

    At any rate, we do end up with a good-enough blend at the moment, and Bruce seems to be smart enough to know that he’s in a win-win sticking with what’s come about rather than reverting to what he thought when the season started.

  45. droyd
    whatever chance we have of seeing youth in our team it wont be with bruce,any he has played are last throw dice for him
    bree signed for over 3m yet bruce played hutton at the cost of another year contract
    green only got in when clamour from fans and media was at hysteria levels
    davies gabby was picked ahead of him until his usual spell out injured after scoring his goal ayear

  46. JC,

    Yes, you (Mark etc) can make all kinds of conclusions from what we’ve seen, but the fact is that Tony made it quite clear that he wanted the squad to show young talent.

    In other words, it was all part of a plan that Bruce was part yoo. Well, I assume he was … I’d say it’s a bit unlikely that he wasn’t.

    So for that reason I still say there’s more cred to give to Bruce than Mark would have us believe.

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