Darren Bent has singled out Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce as someone who will play a crucial role in their survival hopes this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Sunderland and England hitman says that he believes the Magpies are facing a relegation battle this season but that his old manager is the ideal choice to keep them in the Premier League.
Newcastle finished 13th in the top flight last season, 11 points off the relegated sides, while the season before saw them secure a 10th placed finish.
Bent says that Newcastle will be battling against the drop this season but that playing pragmatic football, as was the case under former boss Rafa Benitez, will ensure they stave off the threat of relegation.
“They’re up against it, they’re really up against it,” Bent told Football Insider.
“If you ever needed someone to kind of solidify a team and keep them stable then Steve Bruce is your man.
“It just depends on what their ambition is – if they go out there and try to play football against some of these top teams, they’ll get beat, simple as that. If they go out and are hard to play against – like Rafa Benitez, at times it wasn’t great to watch but it got results – if they can do that, they might be alright.”
Newcastle kicked off their season with a 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal the difference between the Magpies and the Gunners.
Their second game sees them make the long journey to newly-promoted Norwich City, who have former Newcastle custodian Tim Krul in goal.
In other Newcastle United news, Danny Mills has been drooling to Football Insider about a game-changing talent at St James’ Park.