Bruce sorry to see Valencia go

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Football News

Wigan manager Steve Bruce bade a fond farewell to winger Antonio Valencia after the Ecuador international put in an impressive performance in the 1-0 victory over Portsmouth.

The 23-year-old is destined to leave the JJB Stadium in a multi-million deal to one of Europe's top clubs after being tracked by the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United.

"He showed why we will struggle to hold on to him, he was absolutely magnificent," said Bruce, who signed Valencia on a permanent deal in January 2008 after the player was initially brought in on loan by former boss Paul Jewell. "I'll be devastated to lose him because how the hell do we replace him - but he deserves it."

He added: "He is a great kid to work with; he's humble, a great athlete and he deserves to play at the highest level - which he will do.

"The size of clubs who want to try to take him is growing by the day and unfortunately he will go.

"It is out of my hands now. It is up to the powers that be to get the best deal."

Wigan are certain to make a huge profit on a player bought from Villarreal for around £2million and that will allow them to bring in support for striker Hugo Rodallega, Sunday's matchwinner.

The Colombia international, signed in January as a replacement for Emile Heskey, scored his third goal in four matches in the 27th minute when he tapped home from three yards after Sol Campbell had allowed Charles N'Zogbia's cross through his legs.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Emile Heskey
Hugo Rodallega
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Sol Campbell
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic
Charles N'Zogbia
Antonio Valencia

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