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'I don't influence it' - Tony Mowbray explains his role in Sunderland recruitment

By Michael Graham,


Sunderland boss says he is 'fine' with his reduced role in recruitment compared to previous jobs.

Tony Mowbray has shed further light on the role he plays in recruitment at Sunderland, admitting he has little influence on that side of the club.

The way Sunderland work has been revolutionised by owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman, with the latter taking overall responsibility for recruitment.

That is something completely new to Mowbray, who has always been a manager until he arrived at Sunderland.

He is now very much a head coach, and it’s a role he says he is very happy to do.

“It’s different because I’m not as involved as I have been for 20-odd years,” Mowbray said.

“I’ve been kept in the loop, but I’m not in the heart of it. I’m not in the recruitment department room making the calls.

“That’s fine. I’m absolutely not pushing back. I’m very much involved in the football club, but I’m not at the core of it making those calls. Football is changing, we all have to accept that.

One thing that does mean is that Mowbray gets a much easier transfer deadline day. Where once upon a time he would have been the man frantically trying to do deals, he no longer has to worry about that.

“It’s the first time I’ve been the head coach,” he said. “So how was [deadline day] for me? Alright. If I'd woken up on Wednesday morning and we'd signed two strikers it would have been great, but if we don’t sign any strikers, you get on with it. I wasn’t influencing it.

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“I knew the targets. It’s not just me or Kristjaan, it’s the coaching staff. It’s all pertinent that we all feel engaged in what we're trying to do. We all know what the message is and the direction the club want to go and the clear picture it’s got and the vision we buy into. I was made very clear of that.

“Regarding players, when I say I'm not involved, I know the name of the players, I know the type, I watch the presentations, I see all the young French kids, while I haven't watched them live, I've seen all their footage in the presentations that the recruitment department present. I do look at the presentations and talent and know how we want to play.”

Mowbray’s real work, though, starts on the training pitch, and he says that is where he can engage his real passion – and it all starts with instilling the right culture at the club.

“I don’t let other people just tell me how we’re going to play,” he said. “It's a fine balance, but I don't mind not being in the belly of [the recruitment].

“I really like to try and inspire footballers to find the levels of intensity. I can't turn a player into Lionel Messi, but I can demand they work hard.”

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