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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 17:09 GMT
Bruce issues warning to Pennant
Birmingham midfielder Jermaine Pennant
Pennant has been warned by Blues boss Steve Bruce
Angry Birmingham boss Steve Bruce has warned midfielder Jermaine Pennant to get his personal life in order.

Pennant, 22, was involved in an incident at a Birmingham club in the early hours of Wednesday.

The Blues boss said: "If he doesn't sort out his personal life he's always going to be be associated with a bad boy reputation.

"At the moment, Jermaine is struggling to come to terms with that and the sooner he realises that the better."

Bruce's patience is wearing thin with Pennant who has been involved in previous incidents, although the Blues' boss is determined to try and stick by him.

Last April, Pennant served 30 days of a three-month prison sentence imposed for driving offences.

He has to listen to people who give him advice
Steve Bruce

When he was released, he was forced to play while wearing an electronic tagging device.

Birmingham chairman David Gold was also forced to defend Pennant after he was involved in an incident while on holiday last June.

Bruce said: "Unfortunately we're talking about Jermaine for the wrong reasons again. We should be talking about his football ability.

"I've been at this club for four years and I've never had a problem with any player until Jermaine came along. I knew when I got the telephone call who it would be about.

"But I will continue to go into bat for him because I'm determined he won't throw away the talent that he's got."

Bruce added : "We're not asking players to live like monks and cut themselves off but they must understand that they're in the public spotlight far more than I was in my day.

"He has to remember who he represents, and what the public perception is, these are the responsibilities the modern footballer has to live with.

"He has to listen to people who give him advice and stay out of these skirmishes he's getting himself into.

"If he doesn't, he's not going to progress and with his talent he can be anything he wants to be."

Interview: Birmingham boss Steve Bruce


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