Birmingham going backwards under Rooney
JOHN EUSTACE will vouch that time is a commodity Birmingham’s owners don’t hand out readily to their managers, so it remains to be seen whether Wayne Rooney can buy more of it thanks to his a-list status.
Birmingham captain Dion sanderson is convinced Rooney will be a success at st andrew’s. But a five-game winless start after last month’s needless sacking of Eustace in favour of his high-profile replacement hardly suggests the Manchester united legend has become a better coach during his stint in Major League soccer.
For all the mission statements to the contrary from their us owners, Birmingham have so far gone backwards under the 38-year-old, whose players, if not all of the club’s fans, have bought into his promise of a bigger, better, brighter future.
‘The change in style will eventually pay off, 100 per cent,’ sanderson insisted after his own-goal, sandwiched between close-range strikes for ex-Blues midfielder Jobe Bellingham and substitute adil aouchiche, sealed the win for sunderland. and with better finishing, it could have been more embarrassing for the visitors.
Koji Miyoshi’s first-half equaliser was the high point of an otherwise forgettable trip to the North East for a squad Rooney will put squarely through its paces during the international break in a bid to get his message across.
sanderson added: ‘I don’t think there’s been a massive change, it’s a different style of play and as a team we have to understand our roles better, but that will come. there’s a lot of work and we’re showing glimpses in games, but we know it’s about getting results.
‘the boys have got to stick to what the gaffer wants and stay positive. there will be a lot of hard work before the next game.
‘He has been class so far, he’s a very good manager and a good person and we’re enjoying working under him.’
sunderland are up to sixth — the position Birmingham occupied when Eustace was sacked. the Blues are now 18th.
after making a winning debut for sunderland, australian defender Nectar triantis said: ‘My family stayed up late to watch at home and to play was a dream come true.’