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Vergini Monologue Must Be A Patient One

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Santiago Vergini looks about as comparable to a professional footballer right now as a child experiencing the after-effects his first stiff drink, but snap judgements are rarely accurate.

Clive Mason

Right, so Santiago Vergini's performance was pretty horrific against Liverpool, wasn't it. He gave away the free kick for the first goal and was lucky on a couple of occasions to not get a red card for fairly lunging, lurching challenges that just begged for trouble.

It was a performance that can't really be defended, and it won't be here. It also came with a similar shocker against Arsenal fresh in the memory.

It wouldn't be quite so galling either if we were talking about isolated errors amid otherwise solid performances, but that has been far from the case. He barely looks like a footballer, never mind the very technical and composed defender he was billed as.

But I think that whilst you'd obviously have to be very worried about using him right now given the current situation, I'd urge against rushing to snap judgements. To me he looks like a player who is very much finding himself caught in the headlights of the Premier League.

He seems to be perpetually stunned by the pace of the game here and is just in a constant state of panic, haplessly rushing everything resulting in a plethora of errors, each fueling his anxiety and helping bring about the next. It's making him look far worse that he actually is.

Against Southampton in the cup I thought we saw the real Vergini. It's obviously tough to take a game in isolation and draw conclusions, but it at least showed what he is capable of being. Perhaps it was due to the absence of the league pressures, but he looked very settled and looked like a real player.

He wouldn't be the first player, especially from South America, to come to England and really struggle initially before becoming a big asset. It is almost sneered upon as a mere cliche, but it's a valid argument that the Premier League is a quicker and tougher prospect that anywhere else. It's a frantic and unforgiving brand of football which just sometimes requires a period of adjustment.

The problem is, of course, that Sunderland have got themselves in such a mess that time is a luxury they can not afford anyone. Players need to perform and they need to do it now. I don't think Vergini can be trusted to do that at the moment.

For that reason, I'd keep him well away from the heart of the defence if at all possible - but I'm not writing him off by a long shot.

Gus Poyet is a huge fan of Vergini's. Should survival be guaranteed, you'd be surprised to see the centre back sent back to his parent club. Even if we were to go down, given the relatively cheap fee it would require to sign him, I wouldn't totally rule out him sticking around and being earmarked for a key role in Poyet's new Sunderland that pass from the back and allow defenders to step out into midfield. He's a fit with the philosophy.

I'm all for waiting to see just precisely what he has and what he can do. There just might be a player in there. But please, just keep him away from the first team for now, because it's doing neither him or the club any favours at all.