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Roker Roundup: Jon McLaughlin speaks honestly & passionately about Jack Ross’ Sunderland sacking

Jon McLaughlin has given perhaps the most honest and passionate interview by anyone in the club since Jack Ross was sacked by Sunderland, revealing how the players found out and why he thinks he lost his job.

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McLaughlin on how he found out Ross news

Sunderland’s Jon McLaughlin has been on international duty this week and the 32-year-old started and kept a clean sheet as Scotland beat San Marino 6-0 in the European Championship qualifiers.

Speaking to the Scottish press after the game, the goalkeeper gave his thoughts on the departure of Jack Ross from his role position of Sunderland manager.

McLaughlin said he found out the news in the club’s WhatsApp chat but the majority of the players found out through the club’s announcement on Twitter, something that disappointed him:

I found out the news on the team WhatsApp chat, the boys found out once it had happened on Twitter. I think that was a bit of a disappointment for a lot of the boys to find out in that manner. That is maybe the way things are these days, with things getting out when a decision is made. Someone hears it and puts it online. Being away from the club when all this is going on is difficult.

I haven’t spoken to Jack yet, but I spoke to Craig Samson, our goalie coach, and I told him I will speak to the gaffer. I said I thought it was best to leave it for a few days and let him process it and deal with it in his own way.

I liked him as a man and a manager and I enjoyed playing for him. He did a lot for me, bringing me to Sunderland, and he had my full support. I know how hard it will be for him losing his job and I will speak to him.

He saw me when I was at Hearts [and he was in charge at St Mirren] and liked what I was doing. It gave him the confidence to take me to this huge club. I owe Jack a great deal to do that. Last season hopefully proved it was a good move for me and the club.

I feel very disappointed for Jack and I feel partly responsible along with the other players. I hope this is a small setback in his career and he can go on and do good things at another club and show how good a manager he is.

The player then gave his thoughts about what led to Ross’ departure and McLaughlin believes the amount of draws cost the manager his job:

From the outside, the size of the club brings huge expectations and that is fair enough, it is football. On the inside you know how difficult a job it is, we stand on quite a level playing field with a lot of the teams in our division. It isn’t easy to breeze over teams or anything like that. Winning games is difficult in the league.

We have had a lot of draws and that has been an issue for us last season and this one so far. If we had turned a few of them into wins, then we would be flying. It is small margins.

At big clubs, and high-pressure jobs, those fine margins count for a lot and, for the gaffer, it has been costly. As players, we have to look at ourselves and acknowledge we have let the manager down as well. We have plenty in the dressing room and more than enough to be right up at the top of the table.

We feel frustrated as it is early in the season and we aren’t that far off in the table. If it was Christmas and we were languishing behind teams, then it might be different but at the end of the day that is the job now. We have to find a way, as players, to turn it around.

UEFA European Qualifier - Scotland vs. San Marino Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group

Egan on his football journey

Academy product John Egan has had a difficult route to the top after being released by Sunderland but the 26-year-old has returned to the Premier League - with Sheffield United - and has now broken into the Irish national team.

Egan was named man of the match last night as 10-man Ireland lost 2-0 in Switzerland in the European Qualifiers.

Speaking to RTE Sport, the central defender has been looking back at his career and how he always believed he would reach the top, even when he suffered a bad leg during a loan spell away from Sunderland [at Bradford City] and once the club released him:

Now with all the money and foreign players, foreign owners, foreign managers coming into England, it makes it harder for all the young English and Irish, Scottish and Welsh players.

For me to go away and have a couple of setbacks on the way and climb back up the ladder, it’s not been the easiest journey but I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world.

Every year, I don’t know how many players get released from youth teams. So it can be quite difficult to start from scratch and build it up again if your head isn’t in it. I always believed in my ability, I always believed I had what it took to do well.

Even when I broke my leg and left Sunderland I always believed I had a good future in the game. It was just up to me to knuckle down, work as hard as I could and leave no stone unturned.

I always believed I’d get a senior international cap in the future. Obviously I went down to Gillingham who were League One at the time, leaving Sunderland who were in the Premier League.

People might have thought why is he going there. But I knew I had a chance of playing every week. I spoke to the manager Peter Taylor and he said you’ll play every week so for me it was a no-brainer for me to go and get two years of football.

I fully believed if I had a bit of luck and stayed injury free, I’d get a move. Since then I moved to Brentford and Sheffield United and it’s been upwards ever since.

If you don’t have a clear pathway to the first team, you’re better off as young as possible going out on loan to try and play professional games. I was with Jordan Pickford in the youth team and he’d gone on loan since he was 17, to the Conference and even below, and look where he is now.

Switzerland v Republic of Ireland - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

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