Michael Bridges says Sam Allardyce’s attention to detail is ‘scary’ and he is convinced the new manager will transform Sunderland into a successful Premier League side.
The former Black Cats’ favourite predicts Allardyce will revolutionise the way the squad prepares, having experienced first-hand the veteran manager’s forensic approach.
And he reckons that attention to detail will pay dividends because Allardyce is able to get the best out of any squad he takes on.
“I first met Big Sam when he signed me for Bolton Wanderers in 2004,” recalled Bridges.
“I could not believe how in depth his team analysis video sessions were and the way he dissected the opposition’s playing style.
“He also made it clear that we as players could not hide from the Pro-Zone stats we used at Bolton.
“Having played at Leeds you would have thought I’d seen this before and it should of been the norm but it wasn’t – this was all new to me and I loved how detailed it was.
“Every week we would have yoga classes and it was the first time I had been given supplement to take with my food which helped recovery and joint ache.
“We even had a psychologist who would sit down with us whenever we wanted to get advice or set ourselves targets.”
Bridges, who now works as a football pundit on Australian TV, keeps a keen eye on the Premier League and is disappointed to have seen Sunderland start the season so poorly.
But he says Allardyce will bring a discipline and a focus which should see the Wearsiders stabilise and start to climb the table.
“Sam was a hard but fair manager who would get the best out of people and players,” said the 37-year-old former striker.
“What I admired most was the way he orchestrated training sessions and made sure the team and players knew their roles and responsibilities with and without the ball and he worked on it religiously..
“Set-plays are a massive part of football and Sam knew this by stats and facts he had shown the team so again we worked on them day-in, day-out so it was no surprise Bolton became the set-play masters.
“Call it long ball, call it a bad style of play but I call it methodical and very, very effective.
“You don’t win games with luck you win games with hard work on the training ground and Sam will do this.
“The players will get a lift and the results will come but the players will have to listen and learn, and Sunderland fans will have to be patient to see the transformation Big Sam will bring.”