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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round Two: John Mensah Vs Phil Bardsley

Two defenders meet in this second round clash as Phil Bardsley takes on John Mensah for the right to go out in the next round. Who wins? You decide!

Ian MacNicol

John Mensah

John Mensah was the complete central defender, able to read the game, good positional sense, quick across the ground, good in the air, physically strong, athletic and came to Sunderland with plenty of experience. Arguably only Wes Brown has been on par with Mensah as the most naturally gifted defender at the club in recent years.

He rolled his sleeves up and gave 100% in every game but while also putting in solid defensive performances, made all the more remarkable due to his appearance record being highly inconsistent due to injuries. We are left to wonder how he and Sunderland would have fared if we had been able to keep him fit, particularly during his first season at the club.

To see how good Mensah was, you just have to watch the biographical film of his life, Unbreakable, where he was played by Samuel L. Jackson. How many Sunderland players on this list can claim such an honour? (AT)

Phil Bardsley

Having used the few strengths Phil Bardsley has to get him this far, it is probably time to join those championing their selected players through the medium of video.

Now, YouTube is no great admirer of Bardo, so I offer up this. This four-minute wonder has it all; gritted teeth, clenched fists, the vacant stare whilst caught flat-footed, and the trademark crowd surfing of gathered team-mates.

It is fitting perhaps that Bardsley, the perennial ‘trier', advanced to the second round as our lowest-ranked candidate. Despite being a Manchester United youth, Bardsley epitomises the underdog mentality that will be needed to advance any further.


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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