Vito Mannone has wished Sam Allardyce well with England – but insists the uncertainty his departure created hasn’t unsettled the Sunderland squad.
Sunderland moved swiftly to replace Allardyce with David Moyes, who watched Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win over Rotherham United from the directors’ box, taking charge.
The timing of Allardyce’s protracted departure couldn’t have been much worse, given that the new Premier League season kicks off in 19 days.
But a change in management is nothing new to the Sunderland squad, with five managers in the past three years.
Mannone, 28, praised Allardyce for the “tremendous” job he did in keeping the club up last season, but he insists it has been very much business as usual for the players.
“I’ve had a few managers now, like most of the boys in the dressing room but it is a new start again, so we want to be optimistic and think positive,” said Mannone.
“It is a football thing that can happen at any time and it has happened a few times to Sunderland, we know what we have to do.
“We have to be professional, train day in and day out as we did in Austria while the situation was a little bit uncertain.
“We can just wish the best of luck to Sam Allardyce; for me he has been a very good manager for the club and thank him for everything he has done for us.
“Now we take on board the new gaffer, his ideas, his rules, because we want to kick on and carry on in a positive way.
“This time round we have a solid base because the last gaffer did a tremendous job.
“We have great fans and everything is fantastic to push on.
“We did very well in the last two to three months of last season, we have had a good pre-season with the technical staff, pushing each other, and now it is down to us to carry on in a positive way.”
Allardyce left the club’s training camp in Austria for talks with the FA about the England job in mid-July before he was eventually appointed on Friday afternoon.
The speculation left the club in a state of limbo ahead of the new campaign, but Mannone says the players just got on with the job in hand.
“If you want me to be honest, he [Allardyce] hasn’t been a major thing in our training, especially the way the gaffer used to treat the training,” added the former Arsenal man.
“Maybe some times he was away and looking from afar and he let the other coaches take the training; it has always been intense and we didn’t drop our levels one bit.
“You have seen that in the two friendlies, we try and play football and improve our fitness. That hasn’t been a major problem.
“In the back of your mind, you are always thinking what is happening and who is coming in and what we need to do.
“But, at the end of the day, when the football is rolling on the pitch, that is all you are doing.”