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Tony Mowbray named Wayne Rooney’s replacement as new boss shocks Birmingham squad at first training session

TONY MOWBRAY replaced Wayne Rooney as manager of Birmingham City this morning.

And wasted no time getting his hands dirty as he took training with his new squad for the first time.

Tony Mowbray has been confirmed as the new boss of Birmingham City

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Tony Mowbray has been confirmed as the new boss of Birmingham CityCredit: Rex
The former Sunderland manager replaces Wayne Rooney, who was fired less than a week ago

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The former Sunderland manager replaces Wayne Rooney, who was fired less than a week agoCredit: Alamy

Blues players were surprised to be met by their new boss when they arrived at their Henley-in-Arden training base this morning.

The decision to hire Mowbray was made less than a week after Rooney’s exit, with the former England captain winning just two matches in 83 days.

And the 60-year-old introduced himself and his long-term assistant Mark Venus before getting down to business on the training pitch.

Mowbray, who was surprisingly sacked by Sunderland just five weeks ago, said: “I can’t wait to get back on the training pitch and start working with this talented group of players. 

“My focus is on building their confidence, delivering results, and giving Blues’ fans a team they can be excited by and proud of. 

“I am excited to be joining Birmingham City at this time.

“I know from personal experience how passionate Bluenoses are, home and away, and I’m looking forward to having their full support for the team starting on Saturday at home to Swansea City.”

Mowbray impressed the Blues recruitment team, headed by CEO Garry Cook and co-owner and Chairman of the Board, Tom Wagner during talks over the weekend.

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And he put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year contract in time to take charge this morning.

Mowbray added: “Tom Wagner and Garry Cook have outlined the ambition for the Club. I can’t wait to get started and play my role in helping to make it a reality.”

The move marks a speedy return to management for the former West Brom, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers, Coventry City and Sunderland boss.

Mowbray quickly emerged as Birmingham’s first choice once Steve Cooper ruled himself out of the running and he was impressed by the ambitious blueprint Blues set out as they look to put Rooney’s disastrous 83-day reign behind them.

American owner Wagner, said: “Tony was the standout candidate in our search for a new Manager. His knowledge of and passion for the game shone through.

“He shares our ambition and will bring stability at an important time for our great club.

Tony Mowbray is the right leader at the right time for our club

Garry Cook

“We received extremely positive feedback from everyone we spoke to about Tony. I am looking forward to seeing him working with the team and he will get the support needed to bring success to the Club.”

Birmingham City Chief Executive Officer Cook, added: “We are delighted to welcome Tony Mowbray to Birmingham City. 

“Tony is a widely respected figure in the game and brings a wealth of Championship experience. He knows what it takes to be successful at this level. 

“Tony has rightfully earned a reputation as a manager who delivers results, likes to play attractive football, and gives young players a chance. 

“He is the right leader at the right time for our club and I know that our supporters will be right behind him and the team.”

Teesider Mowbray’s first task will be to prepare his squad for Saturday’s home game against Swansea City.

And he faces a busy first week with an FA Cup replay against Hull City coming hard on the heels of his debut at St Andrew’s on Tuesday week.

Mowbray’s remit will be to implement the “no fear,” progressive football demanded by new owner Tom Wagner and minority shareholder Tom Brady, which Rooney failed to achieve with his players.

Mowbray edged out former Birmingham boss Gary Rowett and will be charged with steering the Championship strugglers out of trouble, from their position six points above the drop zone.

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