Bruce - Rafa should have rung
Steve Bruce insists Rafa Benitez should have at least contacted him over the Kenwyne Jones transfer saga.
Last Updated: 27/03/10 12:28pm
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce insists Rafa Benitez should have at least contacted him over the Kenwyne Jones transfer saga in January.
The Reds were heavily linked with the Trinidad & Tobago ace at the turn of the year, with Benitez reportedly lining up a loan move.
Bruce says the unwanted speculation affected Jones' form and that he was not going to allow the 25-year-old to depart the club on loan.
The ex-Wigan boss was never looking to cash in on his striker and believes it would take a £15million offer to do a deal.
"What is said and done. In management you look after your own club. I couldn't get away from speculation," explained Bruce.
"It did affect Kenwyne's form. It was continuous. He must have thought I was going around the twist if I was going to let him go on loan.
"Rafa must be getting the info from somewhere. I thought he'd have the decency, do the honourable thing and ring me.
"When the window shut the nonsense went away and we began to see the best of Kenwyne again.
"I never intended to sell Kenwyne, unless someone came in with £15million.
"I want to build a squad here and you don't do that by selling your best players."
Bruce goes head-to-head with Benitez on Sunday when the teams meet in the Premier League at Anfield.
The meeting is their first since Sunderland beat Liverpool last October, a game settled by Darren Bent's infamous 'beachball' goal.
Sunderland will have a vast following on Merseyside and Bruce would not be surprised if one or two attempted to re-enact the incident.
"I am sure there will be a few of our 5,000 fans taking beachballs. Of course we'll be taking a few of our own!" he joked.
"It was a bizarre incident. But after that we have had no luck. All the luck was saved for that game.
"We lost player after player. But the game is remembered for the beachball incident.
"The nature of the goal took all the gloss off a good performance that day. The best side won hands down. It was not a fluke we won. The fluke was the goal."