Wayne Rooney makes ‘non-negotiable’ Birmingham City request as John Eustace overruled

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The details and press conference quotes as Wayne Rooney makes a ‘non-negotiable’ request to his Birmingham City squad.

Birmingham City manager Wayne Rooney has opened the lid on the tactics he hopes will propel Blues to a top-six finish in the Sky Bet Championship. Recognising but overruling previous head coach John Eustace, the new Birmingham boss says his methods have been well received by the squad, though admits it will take time for everything to fully click.

Rooney has had just over a week to get to know his new colleagues ahead of his first game in charge, away at Middlesbrough. Managed by a close friend in Michael Carrick, Rooney knows all too well how much of a challenge it will be to beat Boro for a dream start. It’s been vital for the former Manchester United and England captain to get his approach across quickly, and he believes he’s done so.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think the boys have bought into what I want to do and how I want to play,” Rooney told Blues TVon Thursday. “I always want my teams to be intense, to be front-footed and to try and win the ball back up high. Nothing crazy – not a stupid press – but a more calculated press. When we press, we press as a team and we have to be aggressive.

“With the ball, we want to keep it and make it difficult for opponents. Ultimately, the basics of the game – tackling, running, the mentals – all have to be there. They’re all non-negotiables with the players. On top of that, it’s all about the feeling, especially with the attacking players, to go and express themselves and be exciting. That’s what the fans want to see, that’s what I want to see, and hopefully that’ll help us,” Rooney said.

There was very little mention of predecessor Eustace in Rooney’s unveiling last week but the new manager was keen to offer some praise in his second press conference. “John has left the team in a really good place. It’s on me and my coaches now to try and elevate the team. I’ve been pleased with how the players have taken the information that we have given them,” Rooney said, via Birmingham Live.

“The way I want the team to play is different to the way John did. John was more transitional, I want to be more front-footed and win the ball back higher up the pitch and try and dominate possession. It will take time, that’s why we signed a three-and-a-half-year deal. From what I have seen in the last week there’s a lot to be encouraged about,” Rooney concluded.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Birmingham head into this weekend’s clash in sixth place and could rise as high as third with a win. A defeat, however, could drop Blues into the bottom half. Boro, meanwhile, can enter the top 12 with a victory at Riverside Stadium. Rooney’s debut, in front of a sold-out Birmingham away end, kicks off on Saturday, October 21 at 3pm.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.