Interest in Crooks?
Ipswich are said to be ready to make a move for a ‘prime summer target’, Rotherham United midfielder Matt Crooks, but may face competition from Sunderland.
Crooks only has one-year left remaining on his deal with the Yorkshire outfit, and the East Anglian Daily Times say Paul Cook has identified the 27-year-old as a key target.
The report goes on to say that Sunderland also hold an interest in the player, along with Derby County and Peterborough United.
Crooks scored six times from midfield for Rotherham last season and has 21 in total in all competitions for the Millers in 97 games.
New Pompey defender confirms Sunderland interest
Another Rotherham player recently linked with Sunderland is ex-Blackpool defender Clark Robertson, but the 27-year-old signed for Portsmouth instead.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Robertson confirmed Sunderland had an interest in signing him but that was never followed up:
Sunderland had a bit of interest but it didn’t get to the stage of anything happening. I’d always thought of playing abroad and we did get quite far down the line with Hapoel Jerusalem.
That might be an idea in a couple of years time. There was an offer from Poland too.
He went on to say why he made the decision to sign for Pompey and revealed that a presentation by Danny Cowley was key to him heading for Fratton Park:
I was absolutely buzzing after the manager put on a presentation over Zoom to me. The detail was very in-depth, all about how Portsmouth were going to play and in there were clips of me playing at Rotherham and Blackpool, showing how what I do fits perfectly into that style.
It made me feel wanted after I had a difficult season. The last 18 months have been stop-start.
So for a manager to show how much he wants you and wants to give you an opportunity, that made my mind up.
To see he’d put a plan in place for me that will get me back to my best and playing every week was really impressive.
He understands what I can bring to a team, he wants to play out from the back which I enjoy and it suits my game. I can only imagine everything he does will be in great detail so I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years.
‘Just a normal kid from Sunderland’
Ahead of the Euro 2020 second round match later today against Germany, England Football have released a documentary on Sunderland academy product Jordan Henderson who will be hoping to be a key part of the match.
Henderson features in England Football’s This Is Football series and the experienced midfielder talks about growing up in Sunderland and what gave him the drive to achieve as much as he has in football:
I’m just a normal kid from Sunderland who loves playing football. You know I wasn’t blessed or giving something that nobody else had.
I moved to Herrington, East Herrington, when I was around probably four or five. Obviously, I’m very proud to come from Sunderland. Great people there. Working class background, very passionate about football, love football.
My dad always said as soon as I could walk I was kicking a ball. That’s where I was the happiest really, when I was playing football. When I was a kid I just played as much as possible. Every time I’d go out I would take the ball with us and then on my with me friends I would aim for lamp posts or electrical boxes and stuff.
I’ve been very lucky to have so many good people around us, you know, P.E. teachers, friends, family, Dave Robinson was our P.E. teacher and the coach for the school team. And he was brilliant, you know, [he said] just basically going out for and enjoy it. There wasn’t really much tactics, to be honest, it was ‘just go and play football, have a laugh and enjoy it.’ He was great for the lads and the lads loved playing . But yeah, Dave was fantastic. He still texts us now and again to check in and make sure everything is okay.
Deep down, I always had something in us that I wanted to be a footballer and I wasn’t really going to let anybody step in my way or stop us from doing that. I wanted to become the best I could be and I’m still like that to this day. I know I can improve, I know I can be better at a lot of things, not only as a player, but as a person. I always look to grow. And that’s all I’ve ever done.
Henderson’s P.E. teacher, Dave Robinson, is glowing with praise for the Liverpool captain, saying Sunderland and the north east could not have a better ambassador:
He always played with a smile on his face and he was just one of the lads, and that’s all he wanted to be. In my lessons especially, I use Jordan as a role model, and especially say ‘look at what is achieved: Liverpool captain, Champions League, Premiership and he was sat where you are 14 years ago. This is what you can achieve if you really put your mind to it and you sacrifice other parts of your life to achieve what you want to achieve.’
So so proud of him, individually, and as a school that he’s come from our area, from our school. You know, he’s an ambassador for Sunderland and from the north east, and what a great ambassador.
You can watch the full This Is Football documentary by England Football by pressing play on the YouTube video below: