Robbie Savage discusses Wayne Rooney's appointment at Birmingham City
Wayne Rooney has issued a rallying cry to his Birmingham City players following the team’s third consecutive defeat under his leadership. The former England captain is in his latest coaching role and admitted that “people are scared of change” having failed to record a win since taking charge, and believes that the players “must believe in themselves more” to get back to winning ways.
Rooney’s appointment to Birmingham came under heavy scrutiny following his disappointing spell as the head coach of MLS side DC United. During two seasons in charge the team failed to reach the playoffs on both occasions, and ended the first season bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The 37-year-old left the team after agreeing to “part ways,” according to a club statement, as he replaced popular coach John Eustace. Eustace had helped Birmingham avoid relegation last season and guided the team to sixth place in the Championship, but was controversially relieved of his duties to make way for Rooney.
Despite the ex-Manchester United icon’s high-profile appointment, results haven’t gone his way. Under his guidance the team lost to in-form Middlesbrough and suffered a 2-0 defeat to Hull City before Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton.
Speaking after the Southampton defeat, Rooney claims that he understands the criticism that has come following his arrival. “I get fans’ frustration because John [Eustace] did a good job, stabilised the club, and we were in sixth place,” Rooney admitted. “But it is going to take time and Southampton are a perfect example. Russell Martin has a clear way of playing, similar to what I want.”
Rooney went on to claim that the club needs more time to adjust to his new tactics and demands. The former striker also believes that his players might be scared to make the necessary changes in order to start winning games.
“It takes time to get that confidence into the players to do that,” he added. “I am patient and calm, and it will come. But we need to pick up points. And of course – winning games always helps. Tactically and physically it is a big change, what I am asking. They have to be a lot fitter.
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“The lads have been great, taking the information to do what I want. Maybe the players are not comfortable in what I want from them. They must believe in themselves more. Sometimes people are scared of change, scared to think outside the box.”
Rooney and Birmingham will be hoping for some much-needed points when they play Ipswich Town next Saturday (November 4). The game will be another difficult task for Rooney with Ipswich currently sitting second in the table having won their last four games and recorded only one defeat all season.
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