RECOGNISED as the best centre-half of his generation not to win a full England cap, Steve Bruce’s defensive acumen is permeating across the Sheffield Wednesday side as manager.
That is the considered view of Owls forward Steven Fletcher, who believes that the likes of Michael Hector, who turned in another exemplary performance to earn the man-of-the-match plaudits in Monday’s derby draw with Sheffield United, are benefiting hugely from the tutelage of Bruce on a daily basis.
On the impact on Bruce in helping the Owls keep six clean sheets in an unbeaten eight-match run, Fletcher said: “He (Hector) has been brilliant.
“It can only help the defence with the gaffer being in. He had a great career at the back. It is good for them, especially learning off the gaffer. Hopefully, it will only get better.
“The gaffer has only been in for a month but it can only help the lads. It would be the same if a top striker came in and took the job. You can always learn off them.
“It is great for them and great for us because we want to keep the door shut at the back.”
Specifically on the rise of Hector, whose season-long loan from Chelsea ends in May, Fletcher added: “He has fitted in fantastic on and off the pitch. He is a great lad. He gets involved with the banter which is always good.
“He is a bit of a character and we have to keep him in check sometimes!”
Bruce’s standing in the game following a distinguished career with Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson and four promotions to the top-flight as a manager precedes him, with Fletcher also quick to acknowledge the impact he has made in the Owls dressing room.
Bruce’s canny man-management is helping to bring out the best in a previously under-achieving Wednesday squad and Fletcher says: “When the gaffer comes into a room, he has a real presence.
It can only help the defence with the gaffer being in. He had a great career at the back. It is good for them, especially learning off the gaffer. Hopefully, it will only get better.Sheffield Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher
“He has had a great playing and coaching career, so everyone looks up to him. When he walks into a room, you always feel a bit like ‘the gaffer is in the room’ and you can tell he is in.
“It is good. I think you need that in football. He has learned off the best in Sir Alex. He has a presence. He has brought in great backroom staff and the coaching staff have been brilliant.”