LIAM ROSENIOR was gutted his old pal Wayne Rooney lost his job at Birmingham — and admitted: “The Championship is the hardest league in the world.”
Manchester United and England legend Rooney was sacked after just 15 games and 83 days in charge of the Blues to become the second tier’s latest managerial casualty.
Rosenior, who was Rooney’s assistant manager at Derby, is the seventh longest-serving boss in the division having taken over at Hull 14 months ago.
He has guided the Tigers to seventh in the table after 26 games and they can climb into the play-off spots tonight with victory over Norwich.
And Rosenior said: “Every manager needs time to build something.
“I was devastated for Wayne because he’s a good friend of mine and I hoped it would go well for him.
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“It’s a brutal industry. It’s crazy to think I’m one of the longest-serving managers having been here just over a year.
“But the Championship is tough for managers because it’s so hard to go on consistent runs.
“And it’s the hardest league in the world for a player. From a physical point of view, the schedule is crazy. We’ve just played four games in ten days.
“When you have smaller squads with smaller budgets, you end up getting more injuries. It’s relentless.
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“We’re playing Norwich, who are 12th at the moment but in two games they can be sixth. The league is so tight and that speaks so much for the competition.”
Hull have been on an upward trajectory since Rosenior arrived with the club 18th in the Championship.
But the Tigers comfortably stayed up last term and are surprise play-off contenders this time around.
Rosenior, 39, said: “The level in the Championship has gone up — the coaching and standard of players.
“So for us to be in a position where we can challenge for the play-offs and be disappointed not to have more points from the performance is a great platform for the second half of the season.
“What made this division harder were the three teams that came down.
“Leeds, Leicester and Southampton are all huge clubs who were established in the Premier League.
“And so many more younger coaches have been recruited this season. The game has become far more of a tactical challenge than even a year ago.
“So for us to be at this end of the table a year in, we’ve done a lot of good work. There has to be something tangible at the end of it — that is what we’ve been working towards.”
Tried-and-trusted managers like Neil Warnock and Steve Bruce have not yet been called in to rescue a team .
But Birmingham this week opted to replace Rooney with Tony Mowbray, 60, who was bizarrely sacked by Sunderland last month despite challenging for promotion.
Rosenior added: “It’s a choice for every club and it’s not always down to age.
“Tony did an excellent job at Sunderland and he has gone into Birmingham. It’s just what clubs are looking for.
“The league’s tactical level has gone up. Teams are changing their system, changing their press and how they build.
“The style of football is a lot more possession-based.”
While the Championship is ruthless when it comes to longevity of managers, Rosenior is confident Hull owner Acun Ilicali has his back.
The businessman — known as the Turkish Simon Cowell — has made no secret of his desire to take Hull back into the Premier League.
But Rosenior said: “This club has grown on and off the pitch.
“We’re attracting outstanding players and that is credit to Acun and our vice chairman Tan Kesler.
“They have worked hard to build a wonderful club back up. With the previous ownership there was not a great feeling around the club but that’s changed now.
“When I walk around the city, everyone is excited about what’s happening.
“That helps me in my job as manager so I just want to see it through and get this club back to where it was in previous years.”