Chris Coleman defends Callum McManaman and praises impact of Sunderland winger

Callum McManaman hits home his last-gasp leveller against Boro. Picture by Frank Reid
Callum McManaman hits home his last-gasp leveller against Boro. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman has praised the impact of Callum McManaman after his dramatic equaliser in Saturday’s pulsating 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough.

Sub McManaman’s 96th-minute volley capped a remarkable afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

He celebrated by running to the Boro technical area and cupping his ear towards Tony Pulis, the winger having played under the Welshman at West Brom but struggling for game time.

McManaman was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday before joining Sunderland in the summer on a two-year deal. He has made nine league starts this season.

Asked whether Pulis was angered by McManaman’s celebration, for which he was booked, Pulis said: “No, not really.

“He was disappointed when he was at West Brom and I never picked him.

“He went to Sheffield Wednesday and they didn’t pick him and he is here and they don’t pick him! I understand the boy is very frustrated.

“Let’s talk about the game.”

Coleman didn’t get involved in the incident, but he said there was some “history” between the pair.

Responding to Pulis’s jibe about game time, Coleman said: “Since I came in, Callum was playing, then he got injured, so you can’t play him when he’s injured.

“He’s been back three games and he’s played in two. So he has played here with me.

“I’m not sure with Simon [Grayson, Coleman’s predecessor]. I don’t know what his game time was. With me, he’s definitely had a lot of game time.

“He gave us an impact on Tuesday night, he gave us an impact on Saturday.

“Maybe I’ve managed a player in the past that doesn’t like me, and maybe he’d get on with Puley if he worked with him.

“But I’ve got no issues with Callum, he trains hard every day and he does his best.

“He’s got something to offer and, in the last two games, you’ve definitely seen that. When he’s been available with me, he’s had a lot of game time.”

Pulis and McManaman were seen having words as they made their way inside at the final whistle.

Asked if there were any further incidents in the tunnel, Pulis said: “No, nothing, just a bit of banter between two people! A bit of fun. Not a problem. No pushing, no shoving.

“I understand why he is disappointed, everyone wants to play.”

On the celebration, Coleman joked: “I thought he was running to me! So I got blanked!”

He added: “I honestly didn’t know what it was to do with as I didn’t twig that Cal was at West Brom and Tony was the manager, but I didn’t get into it afterwards.

“I don’t know what was said.

“There were probably words and a reaction, but I was just happy that Cal that he got the equaliser.

“But there’s a bit of history there.”