THE turning point in Danny Rose’s Sunderland career came in October, not in front of racist Serbia fans but a television at the Academy of Light.
Since his angry reaction to hours of monkey chanting while on England Under-21 duty, Rose has blossomed as a Sunderland player. The left-back adopted a more positive on-field mindset, even if off it he and his team-mates still look over their shoulders.
The catalyst was a video debriefing with manager Martin O’Neill.
“Before I got injured I had the mindset that whenever I got the ball I would be the one to make things happen,” explained Rose, on a season-long loan from Tottenham Hotspur. “The manager made me get that mindset.
“The first few games when I was here I was playing a bit safe. In October, we played Manchester City away and he (O’Neill) brought me off after 61 minutes. I wasn’t happy. When we came back in (after the two-leg play-off with Serbia) he showed me some video clips of what he wants me to do better. Since then I have not looked back. I thank him for that. I have been positive ever since.
“I was fairly new to the team. I didn’t want to get the ball
from the back and be taking five players on. “He said, ‘I trust you. I brought you here because you’re an exciting player. I have seen you do that sort of stuff when you were at Tottenham and I want you to bring that here’. I thought fair enough.
“In the first two minutes of the next game I gave the ball away and Newcastle scored! Ever since then I have enjoyed it. It’s all down to Martin O’Neill.”
Rose was overlooked by Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce against Sweden on Tuesday because he only returned from a hamstring injury at half-time against Reading days earlier.