Steven Gerrard is looking forward to Steve Bruce reaching the 1000th game of his managerial career as he distanced himself from Newcastle speculation.
Pressure on Toon boss Bruce has increased since the club’s Saudi Arabian-funded takeover with Rangers manager Gerrard mentioned among several others as a possible replacement.
While Newcastle, second bottom in the Premier League, get set to play Tottenham on Sunday, Gerrard’s cinch Premiership leaders are preparing for the visit of second-placed Hearts on Saturday.
Asked about being linked with the Magpies, the Gers boss, who is waiting on striker Kemar Roofe coming back from international duty with Jamaica, said: “I don’t really react or get involved in any kind of speculation.
“Especially when there is someone who I have the utmost respect for sitting in that job that the speculation is about.
“For me, I am in a very big job here that I am fully focused on and we have a top-of-the-table clash at the weekend and it is a game I am very much looking forward to.
“But I certainly have one eye on Newcastle in terms of Brucie getting his 1000th game, a great character of the game, someone whom I have a personal relationship with and the utmost respect for.
“I am looking forward to seeing him getting his 1000th game, I think it is a massive achievement so congratulations to him at the weekend.”
Asked if he had any sympathy for Bruce, the former Liverpool and England captain said: “I think the character that Steve Bruce is, I don’t think he would want anyone to have sympathy for him or feel sorry for him.
“I wouldn’t like people to be speculating about my job so I certainly won’t be getting involved in speculation towards his.
“I think it is interesting what is happening at Newcastle, if anyone deserves a break it’s the Geordie fans so I am sure the excitement levels are very high down on the Toon.
“And obviously everyone connected with the game is looking in with interest to see how that develops but from a personal point of view I don’t really get involved in speculation and I wish Steve Bruce all the best.”
Roofe is on his way back to Glasgow after playing for Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras but too late to take part in training on Friday.
Gerrard said: “Kemar Roofe is in transit, we have obviously spoken to him and we are hoping to have him available for tomorrow but he will certainly miss today’s session because he is still travelling back.
“But we have the medical team waiting for him later on who will look after him, assess him and make sure he is ready for tomorrow’s game. Last time we had contact with him he was feeling okay.”
Rangers are one point clear of Robbie Neilson’s side – who are unbeaten on their return to the Premiership, after being demoted when the league was called off early in 2020 due to Covid – and Gerrard is glad to see them back.
He said: “First and foremost if you love the game and love football like I do, I am very pleased to see Hearts back in the top league because I thought they were very unfairly treated during the Covid days.
“Robbie has done a fantastic job. They have got a good team, good players and they have recruited very well.
“But this is a game about us and my focus has been on us, we are on the back of a really top result just before the international break (against Hibernian) and we are going to look to put some distance between us and Hearts come Saturday afternoon.”
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