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Monday Roundup: Austrian Scouting Speculation & Gooch Flying For USMNT Debut

In today's Roundup: A quiet weekend of Sunderland news has the papers resorting to transfer gossip and fairy-tales. Are we still scouting targets in Austria, or is it something more mundane? And Lynden Gooch makes quite the romantic story to fill column inches, but is he really the second fastest player in the Premier League?

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Scouting Austria

The fact that Sunderland have a scout, who sometimes takes in games featuring Austria, is the basis for the latest round of Austro-Sunderland transfer gossip to hit the pages of the local and national newspapers over the weekend.

It was Gordon Chisholm, former Sunderland defender, who set this one away over the summer by posting on twitter that he was off to Vienna to take in a Euro2016 warm up game.

The Sunderland Echo got so excited about it, that in June they proclaimed it was "the FOURTH time" we had sent Chisholm to watch Austria. FOUR times, and not one bid or even a cheeky proper link with any Austrian player all summer long.

Chisholm is perhaps either really thorough or desperately indecisive, because this time Sunderland sent super-scout Robert Cooke to try and progress things a little.

Cooke is a Moyes-man, having worked with the Sunderland boss at Preston, Everton and Manchester United.

Exactly who we might be interested in is still a mystery though, with various pot-shots taken in the weekend’s newspapers:

The Daily Star: Midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger.

The Mirror: Either Centre Half of Martin Hinteregger or Aleksander Dragovic, or Both?

The Sunderland Echo: "Everyone" apparently - add full-back Florian Klein and attacking midfielder Marcel Sabitzer to the list.

Transfer gossip hits all time low as scouts, who routinely scout matches, are scouted to guess who they may be watching. International breaks can be woeful for news.

And, anyway - not one of them has considered that our scout may have been checking out the Welsh talent on show - James Chester anyone? Or, perhaps as likely - checking out the Stoke players on duty ahead of Saturday's crunch clash - Marko Arnautovic and Joe Allen, who ominously both scored.

The Fairytale of Lyndon Gooch, He's Dead Fast

A first call up to the American international side was all the excuse various outlets needed to recant the fairytale of Lynden Gooch - the romantic, if curious, tale of the boy from Santa Cruz who somehow wound up in northern England plying his trade in the Premier League.

And with the dearth of proper Premier League news to report on, the papers have been running those list-style stories to fill their websites.  You’ll know the ones – the Express and the Daily Star have a particular fondness for them - lists of various 'top tens' where you have to click through an image one-by-one to find out what was 'number one'.

In fact a cursory glance at the website of the Express this weekend revealed a desperate list of these lists passing as ‘features’, including: ‘Every stadium in Premier League history ranked’, ‘Goalkeepers who’ve made the most punches this season’ and most enlightening of all – ‘Premier League clubs ranked by most facebook likes’ (we made 10th by the way with 1.6 million 'likes', four-times more than Middlesbrough, whoopee).

But, one which caught the eye – 'Fastest players in the Premier League so far this season'. Because our American youngster, Lynden Gooch, made second with a top recorded speed of 35.19 km/hr, just behind Shane Long of Southampton.

Opta, the stats people, release these figures from time to time. The title of 'fastest' is roughly up there with ‘hardest working’, which is based on how many kilometres each player has run in each match, regardless of whether they ran in the right direction or not.

That said, this one is particularly dubious given the Premier League season has only taken in seven games so far. So, many of the league’s fastest players will have yet to hit a top-speed. Certainly the opportunity for most footballers to reach their fastest flat-out pace is limited in most games. But, let’s go with it for a moment.

As far as we can ascertain, the measurement for this ‘speed’ isn’t necessarily taken when the player has the ball or not, it’s simply the fastest each player was clocked during their periods on the pitch.

For context, Lynden Gooch's 35.19 km/hr compares with a top speed of 44.72 km/hr for Usain Bolt in his current world record 100m sprint..

Certainly Gooch is quick, and perhaps his performances so far in a Sunderland shirt have yet to show supporters just how speedy he can be. There are some anecdotal tales of how fast he was as a kid in the Californian school system; and keep a closer eye on him next time he plays – is his pace based on flat-out acceleration or a high top-speed once he's reached it?

Like several Sunderland players on the fringe of the first team, no one seems entirely sure what exactly Lynden Gooch's best position, and most effective role, is - or will be. Deep lying play-maker, wide-man or an attacking number ten? His appearances thus far have either been played on the flank or centrally at the front of the midfield pack to provide energy towards the top of the park.

This versatility in the squad is all well and good, but we need players to start excelling in a given role and start making a true impact to start collecting points.

Gooch is a good bet for his international debut later this week. He has been called up to join the American camp for a friendly on Wednesday against New Zealand. Two of Sunderland's youngsters getting exposure at senior international level then, with the news Jordan Pickford has been called up to join Gareth Southgate's England squad this week.

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