Confirmation - Didier Ndong Is A Defensive Midfielder, & Always Has Been
The president of the Gabon club that Didier Ndong turned out for in his youth, before he moved to begin his career in Tunisia, has been discussing his former charge’s best position on the pitch.
It comes after Ndong kicked a water bottle and threw his shirt at a team-mate after having been substituted in Gabon’s last match against Morocco.
Bosco Alaba-Fall of Centre Sportif Mberi feels his display of petulance was a result of Ndong's frustration at being played out of position for his national team:
For at least two years he keeps telling me he’s uncomfortable in the role of attacking midfielder.
Everyone knows that Didier is a defensive [midfielder]...We trained for this position.
Indeed, the player himself has also confirmed his feelings on where his best position is in an interview last week:
In my position I am not complaining necessarily, still I feel more comfortable as a defensive midfielder.
Is it just possible that his inclusion where he has been so far in the Sunderland side - pushed ahead of the two holding midfielders - is not quite his preferred position. Time will tell.
And so it is that the player himself has been telling the club’s official website that he has settled quickly into life at Sunderland:
I’m adapting really well and the team has welcomed me with open arms. At the moment it is challenging but everything is going well personally.
It is probably the case that Sunderland's failure to land a more attacking, creative body in the transfer window may be one of regret as the season staggers along. But, if Ndong wasn't exactly what David Moyes needed to spend nearly £14m on, so far - the signs are encouraging about his future potential.
Defoe – Sunderland Have Gone A Bit Backwards
Jermain Defoe, in an interview on SAFC.com has described his frustrations at the poor start to the season and rued the opening run which has seen one of the form Premier League sides in the final few months of last term, start this one so badly:
From where we were last season towards the end, we’ve gone backwards a little bit; and obviously I don’t why, and can’t put a finger on it, but we’re not getting the results.
In a feature the club have entitled “Jermain Defoe is feeling positive ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham United”, the Sunderland hitman, in truth, sounds more frustrated than positive. In fact, he looks positively irritated.
Defoe also appears to be concerned at the way Sunderland have been setting up tactically and the way his teammates have been playing behind him. He said:
We can go away from home and instead of trying to press people, [we should] sit back and frustrate people and hit them on the counter-attack and get our goals like that. Just be solid.
His words are perhaps a nod to how Sam Allardyce had his team organised last season - to be tight at the back, and soak up pressure before releasing Defoe who was so effective in scoring the goals that kept Sunderland in the Premier League.
The 34-year old striker also made reference to the ‘if you don’t win, don’t lose’ mentality which now appears to have evaporated, and he bemoaned points dropped in certain games, particularly against Crystal Palace and Southampton but also against West Brom and Manchester City.
Looking to the upcoming West Ham game this week, and a trip to the Olympic Stadium, Defoe believes all of the pressure is on the Hammers who haven’t hit the heights of last term in their new athletics dome.
****Wipe of The Day - Michael Martin, editor of True Faith
****Wipe of the day is a now daily feature to honour one individual who has suitably embarrassed themselves by publishing some tripe which made us laugh, cringe or cry.
True Faith is a Newcastle fanzine, and as such doesn’t float our boat much. But, it is a notable publication for one reason – the man behind it.
Michael Martin has been a part of the Newcastle scene for years, and his rabble rousing is a sort of 1970s-style bile-filled stain on north east football. He famously got a mention in Bobby Robson’s autobiography and the Newcastle legend was less than complimentary about the man from County Durham who pretends he lives in 'The Toon'.
If ever there was an embarrassing caricature of Magpie-fans, Martin is it. Most outlets who require a semblance of integrity to ensure they are read by sufficient people to stay in existence, would have jettisoned such a figure years ago.
But not True Faith, who clearly believe any image, no matter how cringe-worthy, is better than nothing. Martin has a ‘thing’ about Sunderland and, bizarrely, a ‘thing’ about Adam Johnson. These ‘things’ cannot be healthy, but he persists.
All summer he was bragging about an article his team were working on. He promised a warts-and-all expose on Sunderland’s finances and even bragged he had paid a qualified accountant to do it for him.
The saddest part of all of this - Martin originally engaged this type of 'accountant' to dig in to the world of Mike Ashley when Newcastle fans were adamant the Sports Direct boss was the anti-christ.
Now of course, all Mag-fans have entirely forgiven Ashley thanks to him delivering the promised-land of lower league football. So this accountant is largely useless to the True Faith lads and lasses except for a wheeze as sad as turning attention to their rivals.
This week, Martin unveiled his lifetime’s work. You can read it here; and if it feels somehow familiar – it’s likely because you’ve read it all before.
Laughably it’s almost word-for-word a combination of stuff you will have read on a Sunderland forum or on a well-known website which publishes assessments of football finance from time to time (theswissramble.com).
The fact that the next annual accounts for Sunderland will not be posted until next spring, at the earliest, has completely passed this lot by - so the work is all based on 2014-15 figures and as most people will grasp – two-year old financial information isn’t the best yard-stick by which to poke people in the eye with.