Search icon


09th Oct 2016

Steve Bruce reveals that Fergie stopped him going to the World Cup with Ireland

Fergie wasn't having any of it

Nooruddean Choudry

It could so easily have been the ideal silk and steel defensive partnership of Paul McGrath and Steve Bruce.

An impressively slimline Steve Bruce was on Goals On Sunday this weekend along with his son Alex Bruce, and he revealed that he was once headhunted by former Republic of Ireland boss Jack Charlton to defect to the Emerald Isle.

Bruce the younger represents Northern Ireland at international level, having played at both Under-21 and B-level for the Republic. Despite being born in Norwich, Alex was able to play for either Irish side due to his paternal grandmother from Bangor.

Bruce the elder was of course the aforementioned grandmother’s son, and therefore also eligible to wear green and white instead of the Three Lions. Despite his undoubted quality however, an England cap never came.

Image result for steve bruce manchester united

But he could so easily have played in a World Cup for Ireland back in 1994, at the age of 34 years old. Jack Charlton serendipitously found out about Bruce’s Irish roots and was keen to bring him into the fold.

Sadly for the veteran defender, Sir Alex Ferguson put a swift halt to his international hopes, citing Manchester United’s European adventures as far more important.

These were the days of a strict three-foreigner rule for UEFA competitions, which famously led to the likes of Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel sitting out vital games for the club.

Fergie didn’t want Bruce to be classed as a foreign national and so nothing came of Charlton’s invitation…

Catch up with the latest episode of Football Friday Live: