Steve Bruce unable to explain rules of football to six-year-old child

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The currently unemployed coach got himself in quite a pickle. Back of the Net's John Foster sprays us with his fact hose...

Former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has proved incapable of explaining the rules of football to Andrew Gould, a six-year-old child, sources were reporting yesterday.

Bruce, who has had a virtually uninterrupted career in the game for over thirty years, apparently struggled to outline even the most basic concepts of the sport, leaving Gould bewildered and close to tears.

“You have to score more goals, right, your team, yeah, which is you and ten other blokes, so eleven, or ladies, if you’re a lady, which you’re not, obviously, plus the substitutes, including the goalie and the substitute goalie if you have one, hang on,” he started.

“There’s eleven of you, right, well not of you, but of your mates, or rather ten of your mates, plus you, and there’s the manager, yeah, who stands on the side and tells you where to kick it, which is into the goal, not your goal but the other goal, and when you kick it into that goal you’ve got one goal.”

Noting Gould's confusion, an increasingly sweaty Bruce tried again.

“Imagine this pencil is John Mensah, and this glass of port is Craig Gordon or sometimes Simon Mignolet. This chunk of brie, here, is offside. Would you like some brie? I’ll just finish it off, then.”

The former Manchester United defender’s stumbling attempts to address the six-year-old continued for close to 20 minutes, and four further glasses of port, until a squirming Gould demanded to be allowed to watch Power Rangers.

Bruce’s former captain at Sunderland, Lorik Cana, told that Bruce had often struggled to communicate with his players at the Stadium of Light.

“During team-talks he’d shout out a lot of abstract nouns, like ‘passion’, and ‘desire’, and ‘sugar’,” Cana recalled.

“Often his mouth would open and close, like a fleshy carp, with no sound coming out. Then he’d poke at a blackboard with a stick, even if nothing was written on it.

“He spent one half-time just reciting the names of Pokemon characters, before bringing on Andy Reid for Lee Cattermole and shouting ‘Charmeleon, I choose you.’”

At the time of writing, Bruce was struggling to explain the plot of Pokemon to his 78-year old mother.

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Back of the Net writer Paul Watson's book Up Pohnpei: A Quest to Reclaim the Soul of Football by Leading the World's Ultimate Underdogs to Glory is available now