Martin O’Neill will assess Danny Rose’s mental state closer to the derby after a traumatic week for the England Under-21 international, writes Graeme Anderaon.
The left-back suffered racial abuse in the Under-21s’ game in Serbia on Tuesday night, with the fall-out still ongoing in the wake of disgraceful scenes at the final whistle with Rose being taunted and abused as scuffles broke out.
O’Neill told the Echo today: “Danny is very disappointed with the state of affairs and somewhat angry too.
“I’m sure there’ll be a lot more said over the next few days and perhaps, until we get the full picture, it’s best for me not to say too much.
“But it has been very disappointing from my point of view, given the efforts over the last few years, the concerted efforts, to eradicate racism from our game.
“It’s a difficult situation for him – I have the utmost sympathy for him.
“It’s something he shouldn’t have to endure.
“I noticed the assistant manager at the time told him to try to get through it and they would fight the case afterwards and I think that was probably the sensible thing to do.
“I’ve let things lie with Danny since they happened and, as far as this weekend’s game is concerned, I’ll look at how he is mentally closer to the game.”
O’Neill is looking forward to the derby this Sunday, which he believes is as intense as any in football, as an opportunity to get Sunderland’s points total ticking over again.
“It has been a long fortnight,” he said.
“You don’t mind going into an international break on a win, but we were well beaten by Manchester City last time out and we want to put that right.
“Everyone is looking forward to the game – certainly the supporters I’ve been talking to – and it’s a great game in prospect.
“For intensity, this is up there with any derby going and, of course, you don’t want to let anyone down.
“You want to perform as well as you can and as well as the players can.
“It doesn’t really matter how the clubs are currently performing, it’s all about the derby.
“Personally, I like the intensity of the game as long as it doesn’t go overboard.
“Steve Walford my coach felt that the game at St James’s Park last season matched that for intensity of the Celtic-Rangers derbies and I think that speaks volumes.”