Gary Pallister explains his role as Steve Bruce's 'decoy' at Manchester United

Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister of Manchester United laugh during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers on 3 May, 1993 at Old Trafford in Manchester, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Mark Leech/Offside via Getty Images)

Gary Pallister has revealed the key reason why he scored so few goals for Manchester United (opens in new tab) compared his Red Devils centre-back partner, Steve Bruce.

Both players were rocks at the back during United's first three Premier League title-winning campaigns (while Pallister won another after Bruce had left Old Trafford) – but Bruce finished his Red Devils career with 51 goals to Pallister's 15.

That was despite Pallister being the taller of the pair; he ought to have been the bigger goal threat at set-pieces, right?

Well, that's not how it worked, as Pallister told FourFourTwo for the latest issue available to buy (opens in new tab). The former England international explained:

"I was his [Bruce's] decoy! I was the tallest player in that Manchester United team and opponents always stuck the big fella on the big fella.

"I'd be on the near post or I'd mark my marker all the way in, then Brucey got all of the glory.

"It's funny, though, because as a kid I was a centre-forward – [I] loved scoring goals – and never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up playing at the back."

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...