Why Wayne Rooney should make versatile hotshot his first Birmingham City transfer

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Wayne Rooney has been tasked with building a possession-based Birmingham City side and the 24-year-old could be the perfect addition.

Incoming Birmingham City manager Wayne Rooney should look at making a versatile defender one of his first signings when the transfer window opens once again in January. The Manchester United legend inherits a Blues squad that already sits sixth in the Championship which would suggest there is plenty of talent already at St Andrew's for Rooney to work with. However, the club has also confirmed that the former DC United boss will be given the chance to put his stamp on the team in the transfer window.

Birmingham City Chief Executive Garry Cook said: “There is a lot of decision-making. People are accountable and responsible, some people are consulted and some people are just informed. If you look across our team we have got Craig Gardner, who had an outstanding summer, and his job as technical director is to make sure the manager and his team have all the resources that they need.

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“And we have a board that ultimately writes the cheques. We also have a financial department under Mark Smith, who plays a part. To think of a football club in the modern day, it isn’t just the manager making all the decisions. However, how professionally naive if you didn’t listen to the manager on what he needs and what he wants.”

Rooney to build ‘no fear’ Birmingham

What it is that Rooney wants remains to be seen but, when explaining the sacking of John Eustace, Birmingham City owners alluded to a desire for a 'no fear playing style' from the club as they push for promotion to the Premier League. That certainly seems to be the message passed on to Rooney, who shared his intent to build a 'possession-based' and 'exciting' team.

While those adjectives will have supporters thinking about talent in midfield and pace up front, the very best possession-based teams in the country do so from the back. A strong defence with players comfortable on the ball will be key to any progress in the opposition's half.

Eustace's back line had been pretty consistent so far this season. Only league leaders Leicester City have conceded fewer goals than the Blues but, behind the statistics, there is potentially need for longer-term investment.

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Centre-back pairing Dion Sanderson and Kevin Long have started every Championship fixture so far this season with Cody Drameh, Emmanuel Longelo and Lee Buchanan rotating in the full-back role. Sanderson put pen to paper on a four-year contract this summer and is club captain but 33-year-old Long's contract is set to run out next summer - although the club reserves the option to renew for another year.

Blues should move for Reading defender

Talented Reading defender Tom McIntyre should be high up on Rooney's shopping list as an ideal star to join the ranks at the back. The 24-year-old was a mainstay of the Royals side that was relegated from the Championship last year but was a bright spark in a season blighted by off-the-pitch dramas.

The centre-back is a product of the youth academy in Berkshire and made his first team debut with a man-of-the-match performance against Rotherham United in 2018. He's worked under an incredible 10 managers since then at Reading and developed his game with the ability to play as a full-back and a midfielder.

Tom McIntyre should be on Wayne Rooney’s shopping list (Image: Getty Images)Tom McIntyre should be on Wayne Rooney’s shopping list (Image: Getty Images)
Tom McIntyre should be on Wayne Rooney’s shopping list (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Speaking about his versatility last season, McIntyre said: “I loved [playing in midfield], yeah. You can get on the ball a bit more and express yourself a bit more. It’s different. It takes a bit of getting used to – obviously you’ve got players all around you whereas when you play centre-back you’ve got the game in front of you. But whenever I’m out on the pitch I’ll give 100% wherever I play."

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Not only could McIntyre fill in at centre-back, but he has the ability to play across a number of roles for the Blues. The star could immediately make an impact as a squad player at St Andrew's to boost the side's promotion push and, at just 24 years old, develop to make a starting berth in the first team his own.

His ball-playing ability also has all the marks of the kind of player Rooney may be on the lookout for to build his possession-based team - think of the role that John Stones is able to fulfil at Manchester City or that of Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool.

The player has become a fan favourite in Berkshire in recent years thanks to his performances on the pitch, and his attitude off it. McIntyre is regularly seen taking time to interact with fans and is active in the community, his acquisition could help foster the hardworking atmosphere Rooney will want. Following relegation last season, the player said: "Devastated. There is little that can be said right now to make things better. Despite the external factors that have not helped us along the way the results as a team, since the start of the year, haven’t been good enough.

"I hope that from this, mistakes can be learnt both on and off the pitch. Through tough times it’s all about sticking together as a group and to those fans who have stuck by us this year it means more than I could ever explain so thank you. This will hurt for some time but I know this won’t be the end of successes for @readingfc."

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The 24-year-old can play across the back line and in midfield. (Image: Getty Images)The 24-year-old can play across the back line and in midfield. (Image: Getty Images)
The 24-year-old can play across the back line and in midfield. (Image: Getty Images) | Manchester United via Getty Imag

History with Birmingham City coach - and potential bargain deal

McIntyre could be a name that has already been mentioned to Rooney thanks to his history with John O'Shea, who has joined the new manager's team in the Midlands. O'Shea was a coach at Reading during McIntyre's early years in the first team and knows the player inside out.

Any Birmingham City transfer move for McIntyre may have to be proactive with The Sunday Mirror reporting that multiple Championship clubs, including Blackburn Rovers, and a Scottish Premiership side had been weighing up a move for the star.

Valued at £1.6 million, the defender could also be snapped up for under that price point with his contract at the Select Car Leasing stadium set to run out next summer - and financially-ruined Reading are not in a place to be letting their biggest stars leave for free.

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