Rueful Rooney?

As Blues go down 3-1 at Sunderland, Andy Munro tries to find consolation.

Wayne Rooney might have been a great player but his management skills must be open to question. Arriving like a whirlwind, his naivety in trying to change things immediately has been followed by a continual changing of the footballing guard. Interestingly, his more experienced (and no doubt highly-paid) backroom team have been almost invisible, yet they must also hold some accountability.

However, my biggest concern is that the players seemed happy and comfortable with John Eustace, a likeable individual, and one wonders whether Rooney has already lost the dressing room with his bombastic approach. It won’t do their confidence any good to be told that they aren’t reaching Rooney’s standards for the type of play that he wants to introduce.

As to the game at Sunderland, it was written in the stars that Jobe Bellingham would score against us, although fair play to him for not rubbing it in. The premature dropping of Dion Sanderson’s partner Kevin Long, doesn’t seem to have done Sanderson himself any good and he is now twinned with a central defender who would have made the legendary Ollie Tebily look masterfully calm.

The best news is that we have three excellent full-backs when Lee Buchanan is fit and it was also good to see Koji Myoshi get amongst the goals. However, on the minus side Ivan Sunjic appears to be reverting to type under Rooney and Juninho Bacuna’s fancy dan act produces little in the way of an end product.

Jordan James was decent enough but will no doubt be dropped for the next game while Siriki Dembele has lost his mojo and maverick approach under Rooney. Up top, Oliver Burke is showing now why he has had more clubs than Tony Jacklin and the one saving grace is the excellent Jay Stansfield, who one hopes won’t be recalled by Fulham in the New Year. Thanks to the international break Rooney now has two weeks, after which the players will either return refreshed and reinvigorated or will have been berated back into their footballing shells by an impatient and frustrated manager. Only at the Blues…