Sunderland are looking to play ‘complete football’ under Jack Ross this season – with Reece James hailing the Scot’s man-management techniques.
While work continues to strengthen the squad off the pitch, on it at the training pitches at the Academy of Light, Ross is getting his message across to his players.
Summer signing James believes his fellow teammates have all bought into Ross’ vision for how he wants Sunderland to play this season.
Playing the ball out from the back, with an emphasis on keeping the ball down rather than any hopeful long balls forward.
Ross also wants his players to play with pace and dynamism.
It is music to the ears of former Manchester United academy graduate James.
The 24-year-old has spoken highly of Ross and his style of play ahead of the new season, which kicks off on August 4 with the visit of Charlton Athletic to the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland tasted defeat in their opening pre-season friendly away to Darlington on Tuesday, but preparations continue this afternoon at National League Hartlepool United (KO 3pm).
“Jack Ross has been really good, absolutely fantastic,” said James.
“I think everyone’s said the exact same thing.
“Everything we’ve done has been complete football, he’s got his message across well and I think everyone’s buying into what he’s doing.
“So far his man-management has been absolutely brilliant.
“He’s been so approachable and the message he wants to get across to the players has been brilliant.
“The style of football he wants us to play, he wants us to try and get the ball down, to try to play and play the ball out from the back.
“Any player, especially one who’s come through an academy like Manchester United’s as I have wants to do that.
“We don’t want to be getting it at our feet and just looking long every time.
“That’s the message the manager wants to get across to us all,” added James, who signed on a free after leaving Wigan Athletic in the summer.
Ross’s former side became renowned for their tempo and verve as St Mirren stormed to the Championship title, scoring bags of goals with a young, vibrant squad.
And the new Black Cats boss would like to see Sunderland play in a similar style.
Though the former Hartlepool United defender admits he is prepared to tinker with his footballing philosophy if the circumstances dictate.
“You have to be adaptable but you also want core aspects to how you do things and that is probably been reflected in all the teams that I’ve managed,” said Ross back when he was unveiled.
“They’ve all had an energy about them, a pace about them, they’ve been dynamic.”