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Exclusive: Former Sunderland defender Jimmy Dunne lifts the lid on his time at the club

In an interview with Roker Report, former Sunderland defender Jimmy Dunne has spoken candidly about the mood around the dressing room during his spell on Wearside.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Former Sunderland loanee and current Burnley and Republic of Ireland defender Jimmy Dunne was the latest guest on the Roker Rapport Podcast.

During his chat, Dunne discusses his loan spell at Sunderland, what he thinks of the then Sunderland manager Jack Ross, the time during his spell where he felt like a Real Madrid player, working under Joey Barton at Fleetwood and his international future.

Dunne also expands on the comments his fellow loanee from the 2018-19 season, Lewis Morgan, made about the Sunderland dressing room.

Morgan revealed that he found it difficult to settle in at the club due to cliques in the dressing room, with players barely speaking to each other.

Dunne said that although the club did not have the best team spirit and there were some splits in the dressing room, he believes that was mostly down to it being a new squad and Jack Ross and his management team not being in place long enough to foster a better atmosphere:

It obviously wasn’t probably the best team spirit you’d ever get in a changing room, not for any other reason than it was new.

These things definitely take time when a new manager and new staff come in, there’s new players come in, people are different.

Some of the players that I was closest to at the very start, I was closer to other players six months later, so I definitely feel like I would love to have been there a year to get through my ups and downs and find a consistent level.

I feel like a lot of lads were like that, a lot of lads hit form and came out of form and a lot of lads were happy and not happy, so for me it just went like that anyway.

It must have been difficult as a manager and as a staff to be able to bond a culture together.

We tried to do loads of things, go for meals together and we did get on but I think there were maybe some issues as well that the lads needed to sort out between themselves.

Just disagreements in training. Minor things that aren’t unusual in changing rooms but I think some of the older lads wanted to be different and some of the younger lads used to do that.

We had a bit of an age gap in the changing room anyway and maybe that’s difficult to mold the younger and older lads together, so there was maybe that little bit of a split.

In any changing room again, there’s always certain people.

Not that the changing room wasn’t good enough, it was definitely good enough to get promotion, we were definitely a close knit group but nitpicking at things now maybe there was a little bit of a split in some areas.

Dunne also took a different stance when it came to being left out of the Play Off Final against Charlton Athletic. Morgan said his ‘head had gone’ once he knew he was not starting the Wembley game but Dunne is adamant that you get your individual disappointment out of the way as the team being promoted is the best result for all involved:

You get your disappointment out of the way, you’re not playing but the most important thing and definitely individually and collectively was to be promoted, that’s the one thing that works out better for everyone anyway.

I’d love to look back and say we got promoted that season with Sunderland, whether I played in the final or not. I definitely would never be bitter or anything like that. I really supported the lads and wanted the club to get what they deserved.

You can listen to the podcast with Jimmy Dunne in full and for free when it is released by subscribing to Roker Rapport on iTunes, Acast, Spotify or YouTube.

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