In praise of Wes Brown's single-minded dedication to Sunderland's cup final

The former Manchester United defender says he has no sympathy for his old club and is only looking forward to playing in the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City. Proper order

"I don't feel any sympathy for Manchester United at all. I'm a Sunderland fan now. Obviously I'm a United fan as well but we're playing them so I'm Sunderland all the way. Back in September I could not imagine this club would be going to a Wembley final, and that's the honest truth. We have some great and talented players. When we play well you can see that on the pitch. The lads are buzzing and I hope all our supporters are too."

How refreshing is Wes Brown's reaction to reaching the League Cup final with Sunderland? A player who might have thought he would never run out at Wembley again when he left Manchester United now has the chance to represent Sunderland in a showpiece final. And he's enjoying the moment, rather than using it to curry favour with his old fans.

Some players affect a look of grave sadness when they score against their former clubs, but they should get over themselves. There's no need to shed a tear for a club that decided they would rather sell you than play you. Just look at how self-absorbed and feeble Daniel Sturridge looks in this "muted celebration" after he scored for Liverpool against Manchester City:

Do Manchester City fans really think better of Sturridge because he gazed at the ground sulkily after scoring against them? I doubt it. Did Chelsea fans warm to Shaun Wright-Phillips and Scott Sinclair when they raised their arms in bashful apology after scoring against their team? Probably not.

Wright-Phillips looks like he wants to cry, but to his credit, Brown did nothing of the sort. He was asked if he felt sympathy for Manchester United and assessed the situation with the same brutal honesty that made United supporters warm to him all those years ago.

Supporters at Old Trafford are fond of their flair players and tricky wingers, but, like most English football fans, they adore the men who go on to the pitch and throw themselves into lost causes with conviction. Brown was one of those players and his efforts were rewarded in song:

He's big, he's bad, he's Wesley Brown,
He's the hardest man in all the town.
With orange hair beware.
Come and have a go if you dare...

It's no sonnet, but it sums up Brown's personality on the pitch. He could play, but more than anything, he played with his heart on his sleeve. It's good to see that he hasn't lost his competitive instincts.

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