Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round Two: Kieran Richardson Vs Steed Malbranque

Laurence Griffiths

Kieran Richardson got us some important goals and was pretty versatile. Steed Malbranque had all the tricks and was also versatile, but who makes it to the next round? There's only one person who can decide, and that's you!

Kieran Richardson

Following his emphatic victory in the first round, Richardson progresses in the later stages of our poll but finds himself up against much sterner competition in the shape of Steeeeed. However, don't let the fancy footwork of Malbranque fool you here, Keiran Richardson is more deserving of both your vote and admiration.

Richardson developed a reputation on Wearside as somewhat of a utility man and was adept at each and every position he was deployed, turning his hand to the left back berth with ease, as well as the left flank, central midfield and even a stint in the attacking third.

In fact it it Keiran's time in the advanced areas of the field for which I hold the greatest memories. Following Darren bent's desertion talk on Wearside turned to how Sunderland would cope without their talismatic forward. Where would the goals come from? Cue an awkward away fixture against Blackpool and Richardson's inclusion as a forward, playing just behind Asamoah Gyan.

Despite the added pressure of being included in such a role, Richardson flourished and thanks to two clinical strikes in the first half gave Sunderland an insurmountable lead which earned Sunderland a superb three points to see them climb to the dizzy heights of sixth in the league.

This is just yet another example of the influence Richardson was capable of having in the Sunderland side.

Need I mention that freekick again to further bolster Richardson's quest for your vote? I didn't think so. (DB)

Steed Malbranque

I have to admit that my heart sank a little with this draw because Kieran Richardson is a player I always liked. He was versatile, committed, and he gave us one of the truly iconic modern day Sunderland moments when he just about burst the Mags' net.

But, on the other hand, this is Steed Malbranque. He didn't just give us one moment - he gave us three years of twinkle-toed entertainment week in, week out. He was the player, above anyone else in the post-Reid era, who showed us all that Sunderland were actually allowed to have proper footballers after all.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that from a technical stand-point, Malbranque with his Pritstick feet and trademark shuffle is the single most enjoyable player to watch for Sunderland in my lifetime.

He left his shooting boots in London - there is no question about that - but the things that he could do with a football at his feet were brilliant. He could achieve more with a subtle drop of the hip than the rest we have watched could with a magic wand.

Steed Malbranque is a truly remarkable player in Sunderland's recent history. The kind that came along for us once every 30 years, never mind once every 10. It would be a travesty to allow him to falter at this stage of the competition. (MG)


Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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