Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kenwyne Proving a Challenge - Bruce

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kenwyne Proving a Challenge - Bruce

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

STEVE Bruce admits working with Kenwyne Jones is a test of his managerial qualities but one he expects to continue for some time yet after casting doubt over whether any of the enigmatic striker's suitors can afford him.

The Black Cats manager is monitoring Schalke's Kevin Kuranyi, and interest from Birmingham City and Stoke City in Jones led to the conclusion that the latter's days on Wearside are numbered.

But Bruce's scepticism over those deals lead him to think otherwise.

Playing down transfer speculation was the order of the day as Bruce questioned his ability to land Club America forward Salvador Caba[+ or -]as, and rubbished talk of a pounds 5m move for Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

Those who have only seen Jones fleetingly will be surprised to hear Sunderland contemplating letting the Trinidadian go.

The problem is, many Black Cats season ticket holders have only occasionally seen the real Jones too. Bruce knows it is a problem he must address.

"He tests your skills as a manager," he said. "He's a big, genuine, nice lad, an easy-going, gentle boy.

"It's always the challenge - to get the best out of him. We know what it (the cause of his inconsistency) is. The ability is there."

Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane once valued Jones at pounds 40m. Now Bruce wants Jones to justify that.

"On his day you can look at Kenwyne and say he's worth pounds 40m, then on another day you'll think, 'Come on you'," he said. "That's Kenwyne. With his ability, he could play in any team. The thing for Kenwyne is for him to grasp the nettle. "To be a Chelsea player, a Man U player or a Liverpool player, what makes them stand out is they can perform at a level week in, week out. "It's a level a lot of players find difficult to get to. "We've got to try and get Kenwyne like that, because when he is at his best, he is a fantastic footballer. "In football everybody's got their price, whether you're Steven Gerrard or Cristiano Ronaldo. …

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