WITH the fee Hull City have paid Sheffield United for Stephen Quinn standing at just £20,000 right now, Steve Bruce unsurprisingly regards the midfielder as “a real bargain”.
The 26-year-old moved to the KC Stadium just before the summer transfer window closed in a deal that, the Yorkshire Post can reveal, saw the Tigers pay nothing up front despite a fee of £350,000 being suggested in some quarters.
Under the terms of the switch that took one of the highest earners at Bramall Lane across Yorkshire, Hull must pay the Blades £2,000 per game up to a maximum of £100,000.
On the evidence of Quinn’s first 10 games for Hull, he is proving excellent value with Bruce even tipping the midfielder for international recognition with the Republic of Ireland.
Ahead of today’s derby with Barnsley, the Hull chief said: “I believe we have got a real bargain. Stephen has been a breath of fresh air.
“The way he goes out and plays and gets on with it, he has been a terrific signing. People have looked and looked and looked at him, and thought ‘Is he a bit too small?’ Or they have thought, ‘What is his best position?’
“But for me he was Sheffield United’s best player for two or three years, and that is saying something because they are a big club.
“To get Sheffield United’s best player for the money we did was a great piece of business on deadline day.
“From the moment he walked through the door, he has been excellent. His first-half performance against Bristol (City in last week’s 2-1 win) was fantastic.
“He looks as though he is enjoying it, too. He plays with a smile on his face and plays the game we should all play.
“He rolls into training smiling, does everything you ask of him and then goes and runs 13.5km every Saturday. He is a joy to work with. Stephen is also the reason we are playing this (3-5-2) formation, as it suits so many players including Stephen.”
Dublin-born Quinn has been capped at Under-21 level but is yet to win a senior call-up.
He was overlooked again earlier this week when manager Giovanni Trapattoni named a 26-man squad for the friendly with Greece, but there is hope with the Irish FA having a scout present at last month’s 2-1 win over Ipswich Town.
Asked if he felt Quinn deserved to be part of Ireland’s plans, Bruce replied: “It is not for me to comment, but how he has not been involved in an Ireland squad is beyond me when you see how he performs.
“We have had a nudge from the Irish FA and let us hope that means something will come along in the future. He’s certainly good enough for that.”
Today’s visit of Barnsley begins a hectic few weeks for the Tigers.
Bruce said: “We have got some big tests coming up, that is for sure, but we will relish it.
“As well as Barnsley, there is Wolves (on Tuesday), Cardiff, Birmingham and Palace before the end of the month.
“You would expect them all to be challenging over the course of the season.”
Match preview: Page 5.