“When I was with him at Hull City, we played in a number of different formations and we were one of the first clubs in England to play regularly in a 3-5-2 formation under Bruce. He is certainly not the dinosaur he has been labelled, that is incredibly unfair. You do not last as long in management as he has done without being able to adapt, to take on new ideas and change the way you play. The game has changed a huge amount in my 26 years in the game and I’ve been fortunate to play under some excellent managers and Steve was one of the best. He also has Steve Agnew as one of his coaches and he is also one of the best in the business. I think people will be surprised by what he does at Newcastle.
“He has a human touch and he understands players. I remember when he dropped me from the team to play in the FA Cup Final in 2014. I’d played in every round up to that point and it was a really difficult thing to accept. But I remember him taking the time to explain the decision, we sat and talked it through. It didn’t make it easier as such, but it did soften the blow. There are managers out there – some I’ve played for – who would just pin the team on the wall, who were so cold and clinical, they never explained anything to you. Steve is not like that.