Bruce looks at own role in Meyler’s latest injury

SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce says the news is encouraging for Irishman David Meyler after his knee injury on Wednesday, but the manager is questioning his own selection of the player so soon after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

“The really great news we got late last night was that Meyler hasn’t ruptured the cruciate ligament, it’s still intact which is great news for us,” said Bruce.

“He’s wrenched the knee horribly so we’ll know more in the near future in terms of time schedules. As we speak he’s with the surgeon who performed the operation on him last year. the repair he had is intact.

“He’s given his knee a horrible wobble but fortunately he doesn’t look as though he’s ruptured it.

“He’s going to be out for weeks. You’re talking leg brace — we’re talking similar type of thing to Michael Turner. We hope he doesn’t need an operation but the good news is that it’s not going to be another year out, which would be tough because he doesn’t deserve that.”

Bruce wondered if he could have “protected Meyler better” after coming back from injury.

“It’s a ridiculous fixture schedule. Could and should I have protected Meyler better? Players want to play, that’s what they are about but you ask them to keep playing every two-and-a-half days and you get injuries.

“I didn’t worry about his career (being over) but I did question myself. He’s not ruptured it but to ask him to play two games in three days when he’s been out for months I wonder whether it was wise.

“I questioned myself big style the other night, should I have picked him for two games in three days after he’d been out for nine months?

“Should I have protected him better but we needed to win the match? This is what you get when players play tired.

“He’s seeing Doctor Bolland in Bradford now as we speak.”

Bruce added that another Irish player, Andy Reid, is likely to see action against Notts County today.

“Jack Colback and Andy Reid are back from their loans and they will be involved against Notts County.

“Andy’s out of contract in the summer and we’ll see if anything comes in permanent for him.”

Sunderland’s on-loan Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck is also facing three weeks out after suffering a small hamstring tear at Villa Park.

In addition to Meyler and Welbeck, Bruce will be without the suspended Bolo Zenden today, while skipper Lee Cattermole (back) is sidelined for a month.

Michael Turner and Fraizer Campbell (both knee), Nedum Onuoha (hamstring) and John Mensah (ankle) are also out.

With former Manchester United team-mate Paul Ince in charge of today’s opponents Notts County and another United old boy, Roy Keane, getting the axe at Ipswich yesterday, Bruce’s mind inevitably turned to the subject of management and the pressure that comes with the job they choose to do. He recalled the day a little more than 10 years ago when his reign at Huddersfield came to an abrupt end.

He said: “When you have to go and meet the owner at 7am at the hotel, you know something is going on.

“I went reclusive. I was getting my house done and went labouring. I went and got the pie and chips for the lads and knocked down walls and saved myself £50 a day as a labourer. That’s true.

“After Huddersfield and Sheffield United, I was thinking it was not for me. I suppose it is football, but I don’t want to see it happen to anybody, let alone a high-profile football manager.

“In my experience of it, it was the worst experience I can remember, certainly professionally, anyway.”

A decade on, Bruce enjoys an enviable level of support from the boardroom as he attempts to establish Sunderland as a Premier League force.

Not so very long ago, he and Ince were briefly competing on an even keel in the respective positions at Wigan and Blackburn, although the former England midfielder lasted just six months at Ewood Park after cutting his managerial teeth at Macclesfield and MK Dons.

Bruce said: “He was a winner all his career. He had a wonderful career as a player.

“I had the joy of captaining him when he was a young kid – and he was nuts, by the way, when he was younger.

“I am looking forward to seeing him and I am glad to see him back in the game because there were times, I know, after his Blackburn experience when he was thinking, ‘Is this for me?’.

“He has gone and taken this one and I am sure he will be out striving again, if I know him, to try to get another top job.”

Bruce also says Keane will bounce back from the disappointment of his sacking at Ipswich.

He said: “He is a football person, Roy Keane, that’s the one thing you can’t question at all. He lives and breathes it and I think football is a better place when he is in it.”

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