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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round One: John Mensah Vs Dwight Yorke

Round One continues with a matchup between two who were only here for relatively short periods, but left a lasting impression for their impressive performances. It's John Mensah versus Dwight Yorke...

Clive Mason

John Mensah

John Mensah, or 'The Rock of Gibraltar' as he was known, was so good that he was signed on a season long loan from Lyon, not once but twice. Possibly the most natural defender to grace the red and white stripes since Steve Bould, Mensah was different class from his first game.

Exceptionally strong with pace to boot, Mensah was a breath of fresh air when he first turned up at the Stadium of Light. After suffering two Premier League seasons with the likes of Collins, McShane and Davenport in central defence, Mensah was a genuine class above.

Only an unfortunate injury record prevented John Mensah reaching the very top of the game. A model professional, who led by example on the field, he had the ability to play for pretty much any club in Europe. Sadly, he was never able to reach such heights due to a long standing calf injury.

However, when fit there was no doubt about his ability and he was able to compete against any kind of striker, from notably nullifying an in-form Bobby Zamora to shutting out Carlos Tevez of Manchester City.

Arguably, we've still not replaced him and a fully fit Mensah is undoubtedly worthy of your vote. (AT)

Dwight Yorke

Dwight Yorke is a player who will always be remembered with prestige; instantly associated to that treble winning Man Utd side. The often passing recognition of his time at Villa is harsh, but it's a bit scandalous when you consider his time at Sunderland is rarely mentioned at all. He was a vital player for the Black Cats and his time on Wearside was a significant spell in his illustrious career.

Spells at Blackburn and Birmingham hardly whetted the appetite for his arrival at Sunderland, but Sir Alex Ferguson's recommendation to employ him in midfield (as he had done for his country at the 2006 World Cup) proved a master stroke. His role in the 07/08 season was pivotal in our avoidance of conjuring up another pathetic offering, such as the two Premier League campaigns previous to it. He offered composure and responsibility, and his ball retention capabilities were vital as most of those around him pushed their abilities to the very limit in order to help the club tread water throughout the season.

Yorke is a name associated with with razzmatazz and recklessness off the field which then transferred to a sense of an almost unrealised potential on it, yet his time at The Stadium of Light was to be his swan song that portrayed him as a figure of authority. His experience and know-how magically combined with his genuine touch of class to ensure he had a lead role in what turned out to be a fairly comfortable survival campaign - the platform for our latest stretch in top flight football. It was a fitting way for a player of that calibre to end his established career, by competently competing in the engine room of the Sunderland midfield against the toughest of Premier League counterparts to show the world he wasn't all washed up and irrelevant. An awesome display at home to Arsenal stands out in my mind. He produced and delivered consistently amidst Keane's naivety and should be appreciated a lot more than he is. (SG)


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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