Sunderland’s Wickham up against old boss in Swansea clash

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham

CONNOR Wickham will renew acquaintances with the Premier League manager who set him on the road to success this weekend.

The Sunderland striker worked under Brendan Rodgers at Reading’s academy when the current Swansea boss was beginning his career as a youth-team coach.

They parted ways when Wickham moved to Ipswich at 12, but the duo have remained in contact – the England U21 striker a friend of Rodgers’ son Anton, now a midfielder at Brighton.

Wickham is not surprised by Swansea’s meteoric rise under Rodgers, as the former Watford and Reading boss prepares to bring his plaudit-laden side to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

“He is a brilliant guy. I worked with him him when I was really young at Reading,” Wickham said.

“I know his son Anton very well and his family. He is a nice guy and a great manager.

“He gives confidence to the boys. He will put his arm around you or tell you off. He does whatever a manager should do.

“It’s no wonder Swansea are playing so well with him.

“Brendan was always pretty much the same as he is now. He was always happy and cheerful and made training enjoyable.

“At such a young age it is important for training to be fun and it was.

“I got on really well with Brendan and I still do.”

Wickham is not short on praise for his current boss either and believes Martin O’Neill will ensure he continues to progress.

The England U21 man said: “Some boys have gone for big-money moves at my age and got lost in the game.

“I do not want to be one of those where in a few years time people are asking ‘Where is he now?’”

Full story in Wednesday’s Mail