Since becoming the manager of Sunderland this past weekend, Chris Coleman has been in receipt of praise from all angles from his peers within the game.
Despite his club management career prior to taking over as the boss of Wales being fairly unspectacular, Coleman has significantly enhanced his reputation due to his success in charge of his country and, as a result, he’s coming into the Sunderland job white hot.
That is, of course, perhaps to the bemusement of many who were expecting the next man through the door to be even less spectacular than Simon Grayson, and David Moyes before him.
In light of our recent 2-1 defeat to high-fliers Aston Villa, former Sunderland manager and current Villa boss Steve Bruce spoke highly of the new gaffer, noting that he believes he’s the right man to steer the ship:
I think he’s the right man for it. He’s ready for the challenge and getting back into management. I sincerely hope he does well. I wish him the best of luck.
But, he did acknowledge the scale of the task, stating:
It’s very difficult for Chris Coleman coming in. He’s got himself in a difficult situation there.
But what I’ve seen from them [on Tuesday], are they as low as what they can get? I have to be honest when I walked in here, I thought, you’re not too big to go down a division, we’ve seen it before.
Elsewhere, the current Wales captain Ashley Williams spoke with the press today, discussing Coleman leaving as manager of the Welsh national team in order to take the reins at the Stadium of Light.
Williams - who himself is having a torrid season with under-performing Everton in the Premier League - spoke of how Coleman’s decision to leave the national team post has angered many of the long-standing members of the Wales squad, largely due to their close personal relationship with the former Fulham and Crystal Palace defender:
We were all shocked. We knew the talks were going on; I’d spoken to the gaffer during the week so we knew there was a risk he could go, but we never thought it would come to it because I knew deep-down he wanted to stay.
When the news came we were obviously disappointed and, being honest, a lot of the lads were quite angry. Obviously, we don’t know the full situation of what happened and how it played out, so it might well be that it’s misplaced, but that was the initial feeling.
Williams then went on to talk up Coleman’s ability as a manager, referring to him in the highest possible regard:
He was a leader of men and the closeness we had was down to him and a big factor in what we achieved. We are all used to managers going but it feels a lot more personal because of those relationships and experiences.
What is perhaps most interesting about the appointment of Coleman is whether or not he’ll be around long enough to impart those ideals and traits upon the Sunderland squad, one that has been lacking in character and heart for a considerable length of time.
What is clear, however, is that the Welshman has already made a good impression upon certain Sunderland players - this despite the fact he’s practically just walked through the Academy of Light doors.
Speaking in the aftermath of Tuesday’s loss, current top scorer Lewis Grabban spoke of the fantastic first impression that Coleman has left upon him despite being just a few days into the job, noting that the players are happy with his appointment.
He told the Shields Gazette:
The manager has come in and only had one session but there were vast improvements from the last game so we have to take the positives.
We didn’t get a clear-cut chance I would say. I still thought we built it up well around their box but we had no real clear-cut chance in the first half.
But hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll be able to do that. He’s been really positive.
He’s highlighted, as we already know, how difficult it’s going to be. We’re in a difficult spot but we need to keep faith and hopefully we can turn it around.
Grabban added that he believes in Coleman’s ethos, and thinks that he’ll be able to successfully impart the management style upon Sunderland’s players that brought him to the table in the first place:
I think he’s going to build a close-knit team.
He’s trying to get to know the players as well and he’s trying to do that with everyone to see how certain people react in situations and how he can get his information across at half-time.
He’s just getting used to the team and we’re getting used to him.
The club did well [to bring Coleman in]. The players were happy and now we just have to kick on.
It’s incredibly interesting to read such high praise of Coleman on what seems like a daily basis, and you have to hope that the hype surrounding his appointment doesn’t lead to him underwhelming when performing in a role that so many other established managers have failed to succeed in.
That said, this job is tailor-made for a manager like Coleman - a man that prides himself upon achieving results through developing a tribe-like mentality amongst his players.
Sunderland are bereft of character and confidence currently and if he’s able to instill that within this squad then I have no doubt that they’ll be capable of moving away from danger - the question is, I guess, how soon can we expect things to change?
Well, there’s no time like the present - and Saturday’s fixture at Burton Albion, away from the apparent pressures of playing at the Stadium of Light, is as good a place to start this turn-around than any.