Chris Coleman warns Sunderland players no one is above being subbed after bold changes

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.

Chris Coleman has told his players that no one is above being hooked as he fights to lift them out the Championship bottom three.

The Black Cats boss won praise for removing senior strikers James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban to secure a vital win against Fulham on December 16, and did the same a week later after Sam Gallagher saw red for Birmingham City.

He resisted the temptation to make early changes after an appalling first half at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day, but Coleman will not worry about reputation in future.

He said: “I said to them after the Fulham game it’s not about one player or 11, it’s everybody. That means young Asoro and Maja.

“I can see why the focus was on the two young players afterwards after I brought them on for 20 minutes at 0-0, but the way I looked at it was that Fulham wouldn’t know too much about them.

“We know they’re a threat and they’re something different. The game needed something different.

“Maja got the goal and we ended up getting the three points. It’s the same for all the players, not just Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan – if we need to change the players and throw fresh legs on to ask a different question, everybody’s vulnerable.

“They can be playing brilliantly but we may need to change something and that’s how it works because it’s a squad game.

“I don’t mind people coming off the pitch disappointed if it’s in a professional way, but they’ve still got to be happy that the team produced because nobody is above being substituted in any team – not just Sunderland. It’s all about the squad getting the results.

“If I think I need to make a change again, it’s not personal to anybody. That’s our job, to make sure we get the best out of everybody.

“Josh Maja is 18 and he’d never played in the first team but if we think some of these young players have got something, we’ll give them their chance and when the time is right to make a change in the game that’s what we’ll do.”