Doncaster Rovers: Calm, convincing and composed - an impressive introduction from Grant McCann

Grant McCann
Grant McCann

A calm man but with a Belfast aggressive side that you don't want to see.

That is how Grant McCann chose to describe himself when asked what type of person Doncaster Rovers now have at the helm.

On first impressions, it is hard to disagree with the former Northern Ireland international's assessment of his character.

Softly-spoken, composed and considered, he fielded questions at his maiden media meeting as Rovers boss in a measured and impressive manner.

He showed himself to be personable and open as he spoke with clarity about plans, motivations and character.

But you could also see a steel in his eyes and an occasional bite in his voice to suggest the Sandy Row-fostered aggression is not too far away.

Rovers squad be warned.

His first media outing was a low-key affair - no top table, no grand introduction from a senior club official, no flashbulbs.

It was simply McCann sitting in front of a makeshift advertising hoarding, a few audio recorders placed on a table on the gantry at the top of the West Stand.

And you get the impression that is exactly the way he would prefer. No frills, just getting down to business.

There is no question that McCann arrives at the Keepmoat to a mixed reception. A sacking in your first management job almost guarantees that.

But it was not difficult to see why the Rovers board had him as their first choice candidate following their extensive interview process.

Incredibly assured, the 38-year-old gave convincing answers to all questions asked, looking the interviewer straight in the eye.

It was good to hear that he was not rocked by his experience at Peterborough. If anything he was aggrieved, feeling it ended prematurely.

McCann remains steadfast in his belief he would have taken Posh into the play-offs had be not been shown the door.

He does a very good job in persuading you that would have been the case.

His months out of work have not been spent idle. He has spent time on the training ground with various clubs and had the ear of England boss Gareth Southgate.

And it is not just for this reason that he arrives at the Keepmoat well prepared.

His media outing came mere hours after his first meeting with his new squad.

But it was clear he had done his homework on his players - identifying potential trusted lieutenants among the veterans, consulting with the trio that find themselves on the transfer list, setting his stall out early with the staff he has inherited.

McCann is not coming in blind. He is ready to hit the ground running in pre-season as he bids to prove he is capable of guiding a side to a top six finish.

There remains questions to be answered by the club hierarchy.

Chiefly - why was McCann their man?

But also - and still of prime importance - why June 2018 brought a change in manager at all.

Though Thursday may have seemed the most appropriate time, ultimately those questions will have to wait for another day.

Right now it is time for McCann to answer a few questions with actions rather than words.

Signs of progress in pre-season, astute signings and decisiveness over the next five weeks will do just that.

If his actions speak as loud as his words, expect to be impressed.