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We should be so lucky?

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We should be so lucky?

Post  Kipper on 2017-09-19, 2:28 pm

Only slight flaw in the article below is the comparison to Mannone's injury last year. Everyone already knew what a great keeper Pickford was and he should have been no. 1 before Mannone's injury.
It would be great if the young'uns took their chances though. I had high hopes for Asoro - let's hope he can revive them. Maja looks the brightest at the moment though.


Luck plays a big part in any football career. Those who make it to the top need talent and dedication, but they also need a bit of good fortune along the way.
Had [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] not suffered a freak injury in training in August 2016, Jordan Pickford might be on the bench for Wednesday’s visit to Goodison Park, rather than a British record £30m Europa League goalkeeper with a chance of ending the season as England’s No 1 at the World Cup. You would like to think Pickford’s talent would have come through in the end, but it is impossible to know where and when.

Had Sunderland not been so short of cash when Mannone picked up his injury, had David Moyes – a manager who had seen first-hand the value of giving youngsters their chance – not been in charge, they may well have looked to bring in a short-term replacement and kept Pickford on the bench. With the transfer window open, they could have tried to take Joe Hart on loan and given the lack of alternative Premier League interest and his preference for playing in England, he might even have said yes.


It is all ifs, buts and maybes.

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Joel Asoro of Sunderland (Image: Sunderland AFC)
But maybe the Wearsiders’ difficult financial position might work in their favour again, this time at the other end of the field.
Despite [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ’s best efforts, they have gone into September with only two recognised senior centre-forwards. Grayson was keen to work with Ross McCormack again and Aston Villa happy to sell, but the Black Cats were unable to make the sort of offer which would have forced the issue, and the striker remains at Villa Park.
Sod’s Law dictated that soon after the transfer window shut, one of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] two senior strikers would pick up an injury. Lewis Grabban strained his hamstring at home to Nottingham Forest.

James Vaughan is not the sort of workhorse who will turn his nose up at a bit of overtime, but Grayson will surely have to consider if he should risk him against his first club on Wednesday, when he will surely want to play.
On the one hand, Everton are there for the taking, having lost their last four matches and drawn the two before that. An away win would be a huge confidence boost to a club who have themselves been without a victory in five games, but did at least hint they were capable of it recently. On the other, this is a Premier League side against a Championship team in a competition Sunderland are not going to win. They have used the League Cup so far to rotate their squad, albeit Bury and Carlisle United played in lower divisions.



Once again, though, the Black Cats have some promising players in their problem position. Joel Asoro played for Sweden at this summer’s Under-21 Championships as an 18-year-old, Lynden Gooch is a full USA international and has already scored for the club in this season’s competition, and Josh Maja too is highly thought of, though Goodison will probably come too soon in his return from a pre-season injury.
Making space for young talent is difficult to judge, and requires a lot of bravery. With mutterings already starting about his use of substitutions, Grayson is not as secure in his new job as Sir Alex Ferguson was when he cleared the path for the Class of 92 at Manchester United, firstly through the League Cup.
If Asoro, Maja and Gooch prove to be as good as Sunderland hope, it could save them an awful lot of money in the transfer market – and right now they really need that.
Part of the dilemma is that none of these developing players might be quite ready to lead a frontline on their own, particularly against a back three. If one plays in Vaughan’s place, two may have to, which will go some way to shaping Sunderland’s tactics. It can be done, though - they played 3-4-1-2 at Carlisle with Gooch and Asoro together at the sharp end.



It is a risk.
Moyes – the man who brought through the likes of Vaughan, Wayne Rooney, Victor Anichebe, Ross Barkley and John Stones through at Everton – decided last season was too soon for the teenage Asoro and Maja (and Elliot Embleton), and having dipped Gooch in during the early months of the seasons, resisting putting him back in the line of fire until the final week.
Throw a youngster in too soon and it could be the breaking, rather than the making of them.
It is a risk, but the rewards if Grayson can time it right could be huge. A League Cup game logic tells you Sunderland ought to lose seems a less risky time than most.
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