John Ruddy reveals brutally honest message to Wayne Rooney - and what he wishes he had done

John Ruddy has revealed he told Wayne Rooney that Birmingham City weren’t good enough to play ‘no fear’ football after his second game in charge.

Rooney’s second match was memorable for all the wrong reasons. A hapless Blues were comfortably beaten by Hull City and the manager was booed off on his St Andrew’s debut.

Rooney revealed after that match that some players had suggested they weren’t comfortable playing his style of football, after 15 months working under his predecessor John Eustace, and promised to make changes. Those tweaks didn’t result in improvements, though, and Rooney was fired in January after nine defeats in 15 matches.

Opening up on that managerial change in an appearance on Ben Foster’s podcast The Fozcast, Ruddy said: “It was completely different. What John had done over that year and a bit was build a squad that he knew could be competitive, physically, and be able to get around the pitch.

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“We weren’t an expansive football team but I don’t think we could have been. We went to Peterborough in pre-season and tried to play football and we were 3-0 down in 20 minutes. John quickly realised that we needed solid foundations. If you have the base of a good defence and have pace and quality going forwards, and that’s what we had, we had a good balance.

“The club put out this ‘no fear’ brand of football – I’ve got no idea what that means and I still don’t – and Wayne came in and tried to implement a style of play that was more possession-based with the same players.

“After the second game, we played Hull at home in midweek and lost 2-0, I said, ‘We’re not where you need us to be at this moment. I don’t think we’re good enough at this moment in time to play your style of football. If you work on it every day then I have no doubt we will be.’ It was going to take a lot of work and nailing down specific roles and information for every individual and I don’t think we did enough of it, personally.”

Rooney – who recently returned to management at Plymouth Argyle – presents himself differently on the touchline to how he did during his illustrious playing career. There were, however, occasions when Ruddy felt Rooney’s fiery side was needed.

The goalkeeper added: “He was the complete opposite and he alluded to it in a couple of meetings that he realised he was too hot-headed as a player, and when he stepped into management he made sure he was more conscious and precise in the way he delivered information. I think there was a couple of times when he should have lost his head. He tried to remain calm and be true to his demeanour that he wants people to perceive him as a manager.”