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.
His last international appearance remains the controversial game in Kruševac, where he was sent off seconds after England secured their place at the European Championships with a 3-0 aggregate win.
“Stuart Pearce rang me and said it wouldn’t be right to play for the Under-21s before I was playing here,” Rose explained.
“He wanted to look at (Southampton’s) Luke Shaw, which is fair enough. He wants me on the next trip in March, which is a ten-day trip.
“The last time I played for the Under-21s was that game in October. I am over that now. A million percent.
“It is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
“There are some things I wish I had done differently. People say you should be prepared for them nipping you and trying to aggravate you. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the racial side.
“It started in the warm-up. My mind wasn’t really on the game from the warm-up really. I am just thankful the whole team got home in one piece. It was frightening.
“After a couple of days I was fine and I had to be. We had a big game against Newcastle and the manager could easily have left me on the bench. He played me so I had no choice but to put it to the back of my mind.”
Tomorrow Sunderland host Arsenal, who Rose scored his only Tottenham goal against in 2010.
“Ever since the Tottenham fans have been ledge with me,” he remarked.
“I am not thinking about this week’s game as a Tottenham player playing Arsenal, I just hope I am in the team.
“We lost last week. We went into the changing room afterwards and wanted to look at who had won of the teams below us.
“We are the best out of the teams in the bottom half but we are not safe.
“It’s just another big game for me.”