Birmingham City predicted lineup vs Middlesbrough as Wayne Rooney names debut XI - gallery

Here are the 11 players we predict Wayne Rooney will start on his Birmingham City managerial debut at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney takes on his first game in charge of Birmingham City as Blues travel northeast to face Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon. The new manager, who controversially replaced John Eustace, has had just over a week to get to know his new players and will be hoping to hit the ground running.

Rooney arrives at Birmingham with very high expectations due to the sudden nature of his arrival and the worldwide reputation he possesses. The target is to maintain the momentum set out by Eustace and to keep Blues in the play-off reckoning – a monumental task given just three points are the difference to the bottom half.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, started the season extremely poorly with just two points in their opening seven games but a recent resurgence has restored the faith. Boro have soared out of the relegation zone and up to 16th place after winning four consecutive matches. They’ll be eager to make it five on the bounce this weekend.

The aim for Rooney is to spoil the party at Riverside Stadium and he’s likely to set up in a similar way to Eustace to try and do just that. In a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, here’s how we think Rooney’s first Birmingham lineup will look, as well as brief explanations for all 11 players included.

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