The centre-back, who is currently away with the Republic of Ireland, has been left on the bench for the last four games. But Bruce is still a huge admirer of the 23-year-old – with the boss believing he restored him to the side a bit too quickly following ankle surgery.
Following an outstanding start to the season, O’Shea broke and sustained ligament damage to his ankle while away with Ireland back in August. He returned to fitness in February. And in a bid to get him in the team, Bruce played him at right-back in the games against Middlesbrough and Swansea.
In hindsight, though, the boss admits that was a mistake.
“I like Dara O’Shea, I think he will be a future captain of this club – I really do,” Bruce said.
“From what I have seen so far, he has got a bright future.
“He had a bad injury at the start of the season and had been out for six months. I put him in at right-back because I wanted him in the team. Maybe that was a bit too early and the wrong call for me. But he has got a bright future.”
One centre-back who has kept O’Shea out of the team recently is Semi Ajayi. The Nigeria international struggled for game time under former boss Valerien Ismael. But he has played every minute of the nine games Bruce has managed so far. And the boss says he will keep his place so long as he keeps maintaining his concentration levels. “A new brush sweeps clean, we’re all different as coaches and we all have different ideas,” Bruce said on Ajayi’s return to the team.
“I’ve always liked him. I watched him during his Rotherham days and thought ‘he’s got the pace, the power’. He’s got all the bits you need to be a really good player. Concentration levels for him are hugely important.
“But since I’ve walked in the door he’s not done much wrong at all.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln boss Michael Appleton has confirmed he’d like to sign Albion goalkeeper Alex Palmer on an emergency loan.
Palmer played 58 games for the Imps last season during a temporary switch to Sincil Bank.
Luton signed fellow Baggies goalkeeper Josh Griffiths on loan for this season.
But he has been ruled out of the rest of the season through injury.
Asked if he would like to re-sign Palmer – or Stoke’s Josef Bursik who also had a spell with the Imps last season – Appleton said: “Either one of those would be no-brainers.
“But unless the parent club are happy to do it, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Palmer is currently back at Albion after playing two games for Luton during an emergency loan spell earlier this month.