Birmingham City kick-started the Wayne Rooney era with a 1-0 defeat away at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Birmingham City succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside after Morgan Rogers scored in the 89th minute to hand Boro the three points.
For Blues and new boss Rooney, it was a disappointing result. But there were definite signs in a shift in tempo and playing style with Birmingham City looking to press Middlesbrough much higher up the pitch than they might have done before.
And one player who stood out in this new-look side was Ivan Sunjic. Rooney played him much wider than John Eustace did, but the 27-year-old still impressed, giving a lot of energy going forward and back.
Birmingham Live rated the Croatian’s performance as a 7/10 on the day, with journalist Alex Dicken writing:
“Sunjic was playing in a completely different position to what he has been used to, but his relentless pressing came to the fore. A superb recovery run and challenge on the dangerous Crooks in the second half typified Sunjic’s performance.”
Can Sunjic play a key role for Birmingham City?
Sunjic is a player whose quality has always been evident. Though he’s often struggled to show the consistency or that real standout ability.
He gave a solid account of himself on Saturday though and if he can play at that level every week then he should be one of the first names on the team sheet for Rooney.
And for the new Blues boss, Saturday’s performance was a relatively promising one, though the result was obviously disappointing.
It’s another tricky game up next as Rooney takes on his former Derby County understudy Liam Rosenior and his impressive Hull City side on Wednesday night.
Kick off is at 7:45pm.