There have been rumours in recent weeks that some of the players aren’t playing for Steve McClaren.

This isn’t a new thing, when a team cannot buy a win then it is only natural for fans and media to speculate as to whether the team are putting in the effort for the manager (head coach…).

You only have to look at the second half of last season as a prime example. A club record league losing run of matches and 20 games under John Carver that only featured three victories.

No matter how bad the players might have been, when you don’t even get a draw in an 8 game run, you know there is something seriously wrong.

John Carver was keen to tell us about the amateur psychology he was trying out on the players to ‘inspire’ them, seemingly everything from ranting and raving at them, to opening the dressing room door and inviting anybody who wasn’t up for the fight to walk out.

Like anybody who couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort in matches was going to rouse themselves to get up in front of the other players and do that…

The final desperate act of Carver’s time, saw him accuse Mike Williamson of getting sent off on purpose to avoid having to play again.

As for Steve McClaren, he has a long belief in trying to work with players on the mental side as well as on the training pitch.

I would love to hear what motivational coach Steve Black has reported back to the United boss after speaking to Newcastle players this season.

Maybe their time was up to leave the club but in booting out Ryan Taylor and especially Jonas Gutierrez, the club lost two of the most dependable and strongest characters in a very weak dressing room. No surprise it was Jonas who came up trumps on that final day against West Ham, despite the pressure on the team and also the small matter that he’d known for a long time he would be getting kicked out by Ashley after that game.

I think there are some players not putting it in for Steve McClaren but whether they would do it for anybody else is another matter.

The feeble nature of our dressing room is plain to see, over the last few years the long winless runs of games point to a clear problem with the group and especially the fact that so often one goal leads to another and often more on top of those.

Steve McClaren has already said earlier this season that the players had to address this problem of looking likely to concede another once the first goes in, something unlikely to have been helped by Manchester City!

The final piece of evidence is the derby matches. Sunderland have been terrible in recent years and yet have beaten Newcastle five times in a row, each of the last three seasons they would have been relegated without the points collected from United.

Alan Pardew and John Carver have shown they couldn’t get the players doing it for them, even/especially in these most precious of games.

When the team walk out against Sunderland in 10 days time I think that we will find out for sure whether Steve McClaren has the players onboard.

If they prove not to be then I think we all need to look back to this summer and wonder just why there wasn’t a major clearout of players, with in my opinion, players such as Fabricio Coloccini and Moussa Sissoko at the top of a lengthy list.

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