GK: Jordan Pickford
Sunderland’s young star in my opinion could play for any team outside the top five or six in this league. Pickford has the world at his feet and at the rate he is going could go on to be England’s number one keeper and a Champions League regular.
RB: Michail Antonio
Primarily a winger, Antonio has been revamped at West Ham into an attacking wing-back at times. His outstanding fitness and work ethic have pushed Antonio into the England squad and his versatility make him a manager’s tactical dream.
CB: Lamine Kone
Kone is expected to be back fit for Sunderland this weekend. He may not be the sharpest tool in the box but he can certainly defend and is another one who I sadly can’t see stopping on Wearside for much longer.
CB: Winston Reid
By far the best player to come out of New Zealand, Reid has become one of the leagues finest centre-halves in recent years and has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal.
LB: Aaron Cresswell
Having impressed for many years at Ipswich, Cresswell has made the step-up to the Premier League with ease at West Ham.
RM: Andrew Ayew
Although a tad inconsistent, Ayew on his day can be unplayable as he showed for Swansea last season. The £20-million man is currently out injured which will be a relief for Sunderland who were credit with serious interest in the Ghanaian in January.
CM: Lee Cattermole
Sometimes you just need an old fashioned, no-nonsense warrior in your side, and they don’t come much tougher than Lee Cattermole.
CM: Didier Ndong
I’ve been mightily impressed with Ndong’s attitude since arriving at the club. He may not be transfer-record material just yet, however, the potential and ability is there and hopefully we can start to see the best from Ndong in the near future.
LM: Dimitri Payet
World-class. With all due respect to West Ham, Payet is far too good for them and would arguably walk into the match-day squad of any team in world football.
ST: Jermain Defoe
The former West Ham man will be eager to get back to goalscoring ways against his old side this weekend, and for our sake let’s hope he does!
ST: Andy Carroll
Well, he may be a Geordie and he may pick up more injuries than Wes Brown and Jack Rodwell in a wrestling match, but on his day Carroll is unplayable and gets into this XI for that reason alone.