Sunderland Hold Talks With Managerial Candidate

Sunderland have held ‘informal talks’ with former striker Jermain Defoe over their vacant managerial position, according to the Sunderland Echo.

The Black Cats have been without a permanent Head Coach since parting company with Michael Beale in February. The former Queens Park Rangers boss had only been in charge for 12 games before his dismissal, the second time the Wearsiders had opted to make a change at the top this season.

Mike Dodds was handed the reins on an interim basis for the third time, tasked with seeing the club through until the end of the season.

Sunderland are keen to get their next appointment right as they look to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2017. As a result, they have taken their time on the decision, although are said to be keen to make an announcement shortly after the end of the campaign.

Unsurprisingly, several names have been linked to the post. These include previous bosses Alex Neil and Roy Keane, and ex-Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, there is thought to be concrete interest in Will Still and Paul Heckingbottom, whilst Danny Rohl could be targeted from Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Despite that, a new name has now emerged.

Speaking to Sunderland Echo, Jermain Defoe has revealed that he has held talks with the club, although hasn’t had an interview at this stage:

“I’ve had no interview or anything like that. And like I said before when we spoke, I spoke about obviously the people that want to come with me and even in the background, certain players that I know that I can attract, young top players in the country that I can attract to try and get the club back into the Premier League.

“I’ve had those sorts of discussions. So, nothing’s changed really, but I’ve not had an interview. I went to the Leeds-Sunderland game and just watched the team and stuff like that. So that’s it.”

The 41-year-old had two spells at the club as a player, scoring 37 goals in 100 appearances. Despite his good relationship with the supporters, the ex-England international knows the position is a coveted one:

“And you know what? It makes me want to do it even more because when I look at the news from Tom Cleverley. He was on my player-to-coach course and I see Tom Cleverley getting a Watford job and someone who I played with and a young coach who had one year at Watford and now he’s the manager of such a big club.

“So when you see stuff like this and that, you just think, ‘Okay then, I’m just still waiting for my opportunity’. I’ve read loads of comments. I know the fans. I think for a lot of people, they look at it and think, ‘Oh, it makes sense because of the relationship’. But I mean, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure there must be about 10 or 20 managers who would love to have the Sunderland job, do you know what I mean? So, it’s a massive job.

“So, we’ll see. I’ve not had an interview or anything, but I think they’re aware that, obviously, I’d be interested in taking a job. Why not?”

Sunderland finish their season on Saturday when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Stadium of Light.

Writer’s View

Defoe would certainly be a left-field appointment. However, there seems to be an ever-growing trend in the EFL to take a chance on inexperience, with success seen at the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, QPR and Lincoln City.

He is unlikely to be near the top of the list and there may still be a preference to opt for somebody who knows what it takes to get out of the division, such as Paul Heckingbottom. There is no denying that the former attacker would immediately have the fans on side though. He is highly regarded on Wearside and obviously knows the club inside and out. It would certainly be a risk, but it could be one worth taking.



About Jamie Ward 676 Articles
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