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Roker Roundup: ‘He rang me about Bradley’ says ex-Sunderland striker Defoe in Mourinho defence

Jermain Defoe has lept to the defence of sacked Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, revealing that he contacted him when he was at Sunderland to ask how he and Bradley Lowery were doing.

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Defoe defends Mourinho

Jose Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United on Tuesday after a difficult season with the Red Devils but former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has lept to the Portuguese manager’s defence.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Defoe revealed that Mourinho was quick to get in touch with him after the tragic death of Bradley Lowery to offer his support:

Not many people know this - I remember going through my stuff with Bradley and he [Jose] called me out of the blue.

He said ‘how are you? How’s Bradley’s family?’ I was quite taken aback and really surprised.

Away from football, he’s an amazing human being. I wish him well for the future.

Defoe - who was awarded an OBE last month - says he is surprised at the negativity levelled at Mourinho, a manager he considers an all-time great:

If I’m totally honest, I’ve been a little bit surprised with some of the negativity that’s surrounded his name. Not just now but for the whole season, and maybe even last season.

I’m one of those people - and it doesn’t matter what sport it is - I always appreciate greatness. I think he’s one of the greats.

He’s a legend and at the end of the day, some things just don’t work out. As players, you go to clubs and it just doesn’t work out.

Looking forward, maybe he’ll take a break and we’ll see what happens. But I’m sure he won’t be short of options.

Investitures At Buckingham Palace Photo by Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

O’Donovan set to return

Former Sunderland striker Roy O’Donovan received the second largest suspension in A-League history back in May, when his reckless high tackle on Melbourne Victory goalkeeper during the closing stages of the Newcastle Jets 1-0 Grand Final defeat saw the Irish international get a straight red card.

The 10-game ban in the final game of the Australian season means O’Donovan has not played since that game but he’s set to return to action against his former club Central Coast Mariners on Sunday and, ahead of his return, the 33-year-old told the Newcastle Herald that he wishes he had never made that challenge:

In hindsight, maybe, I wish I hadn’t gone for that ball but that is probably not me to let a game fizzle out. Maybe, I have to be a bit more mindful now that there are consequences when I make a challenge and when somebody else makes a challenge.

It has obviously been a difficult one to take, as poor as the outcome was, I never meant to do that. I couldn’t dream it up. It has gotten to the stage now where I am just looking forward to getting back on the pitch. And it’s not far away.

Although O’Donovan says he’ll be fine, he does say he is fed up of being constantly reminded about incident but is confident he will be back scoring goals soon:

I just want to be out there playing football. I want to move on. I’m sick of hearing about it, talking about it and having to live through it.

The beauty of me coming back now is that I’m an experienced player and my game is built around instinct and scoring goals. You don’t lose that over the space of 10 weeks. I’ll be fine.

At the end of the day, I’m all about playing football. I’m not here to pump myself up, I’m here to be a good player and a good teammate. My job is to score goals and hopefully that starts soon.

Sunderland vs Cobh Ramblers Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images

Cole tips former Cat for the top

Ex-England international Joe Cole has tipped a former Sunderland defender for the very top. In an interview with the Sun, Cole says Neill Collins will be ‘top drawer’ after he was an assistant to the Scot during his spell with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL Championship:

The big man and I are really good friends. He’s going to be a top manager. I’m happy to put that down on paper.

One day I’d like to work with him again. He’s been really impressive with everything he’s done there. It was such a difficult situation for his first job.

His experience is only going to take him onto the next level. I think he’s going to be top drawer.

Collins - who is still manager of the Rowdies - was signed for Sunderland by Mick McCarthy back in 2004 for the bargain fee of £25,000 from Dumbarton and later left the club to reunite with McCarthy at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Derby County v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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