Sunderland’s ability to attract Chris Coleman as manager says everything about the stature of the club, believes Robbin Ruiter.
Ruiter has only been on Wearside four months but the Dutch stopper is adamant a club the size of Sunderland should be in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old admits his friends are taken aback by the Stadium of Light and the training facilities at the Academy of Light, when they visit, comparing it to the big clubs in Dutch football; Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord.
Ahead of Coleman’s first home game in charge against Reading, Ruiter said: “The manager did really well with the national Welsh team.
“We were at the bottom of the league, relegated last year, and he’s come from the Welsh national team, that says enough about the team – it is still such a big club.
“For example, if I speak to friends at home, they don’t understand how big this club is.
“Sometimes they come over to visit a game or stay with me for a weekend, sometimes I take them to the stadium or the training ground. They’re all surprised.
“If you compare to Holland, you compare it with Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV, the top clubs.
“Of course we’re not in that position at the moment but if you see the training ground, the stadium, the fans, it is a club that belongs in the Premier League.
“I went to a game against Arsenal a couple of years ago.
“Of course when a club in England gets a Dutch manager [Dick Advocaat] it gets a lot of attention but when you speak to people in Holland it is always the top five or six they talk about. That’s the reason they don’t expect Sunderland to be this big.”
Sunderland’s squad underwent a major overhaul in the summer with 15 players leaving and 10 arriving on Wearside but the campaign hasn’t gone to plan with the club in the relegation zone. Simon Grayson lost his job after 15 games and replaced with Coleman, a major coup for Sunderland.
The ex-Fulham and Coventry City boss has brought with him a wave of positivity with hopes high of Sunderland finally ending their home hoodoo against Reading.
Ruiter, who has started both of Coleman’s games in charge at Aston Villa and Burton Albion, insists the Sunderland squad didn’t need any reminders of the size of the club. “I don’t think so,” he added.
“We’re all trying so hard. Cardiff at home, penalty against us in the 84th minute, Millwall at home, we play well, I make a mistake. Nottingham at home, we play well, Tyias makes a mistake. Every time something happens why we lost in the game.
“Sometimes we have been unlucky and sometimes it has been us, we haven’t had that bit of quality or that confidence to play the right way.
“Maybe the new manager helps us to get that confidence back and to play the way we can,” added Ruiter, who is expected to keep his place ahead of Jason Steele.