Steve Bruce hails Sone Aluko as Hull City chase David Meyler and Ahmed Elmohamady
HULL City boss Steve Bruce believes new arrival Sone Aluko “oozed talent” on a debut that promised the arrival of a new Championship star.
Aluko was finally able to shrug off contractual red tape that had delayed his City bow when he was belatedly handed his international clearance on the morning of the season opener against Brighton.
The former Rangers forward soon made up for lost time as he produced a man of the match performance in the 1-0 win at the KC Stadium.
A stunning shot against the crossbar came within inches of marking his debut with a goal and Bruce was thrilled with Aluko’s overall impact.
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“I thought he was easily the best player on the pitch,” he told the Mail.
“He’s got such a way with him that he just oozes talent. He’s grown up since I last saw him. He was just 16 when I had him in my squad at Birmingham.
“That shows you what I’ve always thought of him but he’s grown up now and his all-round performance was fantastic.
“If his shot against the bar had gone in, it might have been the goal of the season already. That’s what he’s capable of.”
Aluko’s impact was made all the more impressive when considering he was overlooked during City’s build-up to the fixture.
Bruce added: “We changed it around slightly once the clearance came through on Saturday morning.
“Thanks must go to everyone for getting that over the line because Sone certainly made it a more entertaining game.”
For all the encouragement gleaned from Aluko’s impact, it was the late intervention of Jay Simpson that gave Bruce a winning start in his KC coronation.
The 23-year-old striker was introduced as a substitute with just nine minutes remaining and duly repaid the faith with a dramatic winner.
The 85th-minute goal was Simpson’s first in a City shirt since April 2011 and Bruce has assured the forgotten striker that he holds a place in his plans.
“Jay could count himself a little bit unfortunate not to start the game so I was delighted for him,” added Bruce.
“He’s had a good pre-season and looks lively. He’s posed a question mark to one or two people now.
“I’m not bothered about what’s happened with Jay before. He’s got up and running with a goal and let’s hope it does his confidence the world of good.
“If you could bottle confidence and sell it, it would be amazing. It’s the hardest part of football.”
City’s win should provide a timely lift ahead of demanding away trips to Blackburn on Wednesday and Charlton this weekend.
Bruce will hope to see his ranks strengthened before Saturday’s trip to the capital, but moves for Sunderland pair David Meyler and Ahmed Elmohamady are dependent on Martin O’Neill doing business of his own. The two midfielders both came on as substitutes in Sunderland’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.
Bruce added: “We’re still two or three short so we need to see what we can do in the next ten days.”