Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has praised Ghana captain John Mensah after he played through the pain barrier again for the club in the English Premier League.

Mensah has been rushed back from a shoulder injury which is not completely healed and stepped up to the plate for the club on Sunday as they took all three points against West Ham at the Stadium of Light.

Bruce hailed the Ghanaian as ‘special’ as he put the 1-0 victory down to the quality of their defending.

“The great thing was the way we defended. Ferdinand had his best game for me in 18 months. I threw the gauntlet down to him and Mensah and they responded. I am delighted with that,” Bruce said.

“Mensah put himself on the line with his shoulder. Only special players like him do it. He has a protective harness and is in pain every time it takes a whack.”