Newcastle United manager and former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce thinks Roberto Firmino is like Eric Cantona.
In an interview reported by The Mirror, Bruce talks about the similarities he sees in the player, his influence on the team and the way in which opponents try to combat his effectiveness.
He says its reminiscent of the talismanic Frenchman he played with at United in the ’90s.
“Look, Cantona is as good a player as I’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen Firmino week in week out but.”
“Firmino is similar to Cantona in that he drifts into that little area and he naturally does it, where it’s so difficult for defenders to go.”
Sublime movement and touches, with inch-perfect passing and flamboyant flicks, reminiscent of Cantona.
“I haven’t seen him week in week out like Eric but just when you see him here today and what he gives them, it’s a perfect balance. And Cantona gave us that.”
He believes the setup of the Liverpool team is much like the United of old, with speed and creativity.
“Back in the day, we had Giggs and Kanchelskis who had frightening pace and stretched sides so much like Liverpool’s two.”
“Cantona dropped into that hole and people couldn’t get anywhere near him. That’s what you see with Firmino.”
“His attitude and work rate, it’s so important.”
“Firmino is the one that drops in, but the pace of the other two is frightening. He drops in and the other two are running over your shoulder.”
“It is quite unbelievable…at this moment in time is there anyone better? The one down the road I suppose is there at the minute but they are certainly as good as you get.”
If anyone knows what Cantona brought, it was his captain, that saw the revolution at United unfold first hand, and the impact Cabtona had.
“Back when I played for United, everybody suddenly started playing one centre-forward against us.”
“Back in the day, everyone played with two, then suddenly they would put an extra midfield player in, and it’s what you have to do because you are under threat of getting a hiding.”
Bruce feels that Liverpool have that same kind of edge in their game, and strike a similar feer into their opponents.