Sunderland legends calls for club to consider Kevin Phillips in coaching capacity

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips
Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips
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Former Sunderland star and England international Michael Gray thinks the Black Cats should consider bringing Kevin Phillips to Wearside as they seek to bounce back from a wretched season.

Phillips is one of the greatest players of Sunderland's modern era, winning the European Golden Boot in the 1999/2000.

Gray said he would return to Wearside in a 'heartbeat' to help behind the scenes but added that he didn't think he had what it takes to lead.

Instead, he touted his former team-mate as someone who could help the Black Cats rebuild from a 'blank page' next season.

Phillips is currently at Derby County where he served as assistant to Paul Clement, Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren and now Gary Rowett.

Gray told Talksport: "If there was ever a club I was going to work for, it would be Sunderland.

“I’m not manager material, I know that…but I would love to go in as a number two. I’d love to go behind the scenes without a shadow of doubt, I’d be up there in a blink.

“Having been a player at the club for 12 and a half years, and being a supporter many years before then and still am now, I know Sunderland. I might not know what it takes [to be a coach] but I’d have a damn good go at getting the best out of the players and the squad.

“We’ve got other ex-players who have been at that club, who love that club and get the situation at Sunderland, they know exactly what’s needed.

"Kevin Phillips has been working at Leicester, Derby and other clubs, and he’s absolutely adored at Sunderland – I don’t see why we don’t go down that avenue.

“There’s a big overhaul needed at Sunderland, from top to bottom, including the squad, and I think we need someone like him.

“Kevin Ball is another one – those type of players who the supporters relate to are the route we have to go down now, because they know what it takes to be successful at a club like Sunderland.”

Gray also said Sunderland should use the final seven games of the season to blood young talent to see if they can play a part in what hopes will be a revival next season.