While there are few among the St James’ Park faithful happy with Steve Bruce’s appointment, Newcastle defender Achraf Lazaar is delighted the former Sheffield Wednesday boss is now in charge of the Magpies.
Lazaar worked under Bruce at Hillsborough for the latter half of the 2018/19 season, and has told The Shields Gazette that the Corbridge-born coach helped to save his career as a footballer.
The 27-year-old Moroccan is now keen to see Bruce have the same effect on his Newcastle career, having been shunned to train with the academy for the past two pre-seasons before Rafa Benitez was allowed to leave when his contract expired last month.
Our pre-season tour of China in 2019 is the first chance Lazaar has had to work with the first-team ahead of a season since his arrival on Tyneside in 2017, and started Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
The outcasted left-back is now hopeful he can kick-on working with a ‘great manager’ like Bruce, and cannot wait to be able to work with the 58-year-old again after being given a lifeline on Tyneside.
“Before I went to Sheffield Wednesday I talked about him with my teammates in Morocco and some teammates in England,” said Lazaar. “They talked so good about him.
“He’s helped a lot of people. He’s a great manager. I’m so happy to see him again and work with him, because I think he was one of the people who helped me a lot.
“I’m happy he signed for the club. I can’t wait to see him and to work again with him. We will see. He will.
“Before I was thinking it was one big drama for me [at Newcastle], because I never thought it would happen to me – not playing, being in a big team and then put outside of the team. But I got a big experience, and I went to Sheffield Wednesday.
“They helped my career. They helped me a lot. I got my confidence. I got everything I needed to have. I’m back here and I’m going to give everything and work hard every single day and we will see what will happen.”