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If Sunderland Players Were Pokémon

Yes, I really am that sad. No, I’m not sorry.

This is - without doubt - the dweebiest thing I’ve ever written. My nerdiness has hit rock-bottom. I would not blame my family if they wanted to disown me. I wouldn’t blame my friends if they deleted my number from their phones. I deserve to lose the respect of all my co-workers. I deserve this.

Having said that, Pokémon Go has just been released in the UK and I am now nine years old again. Yesterday, I caught a "Poliwag" and nearly walked head-first into a moving lorry to do so. And I’m not at all sorry. Nintendo shares have increased by nearly 50% in the past few weeks which means I am not alone... Although according to my fiancé, if I keep up this obsession with the game, it won’t be long until I am truly alone.

In one of the rare moments I wasn’t playing the game yesterday, I started comparing Sunderland players to original Pokémon. Yes, I really am that sad. No, I’m not sorry. You may remember that I wrote an article suggesting which Sunderland players are most like prominent Game of Thrones characters. This article is like the calcium-deficient, anaemic, estranged cousin version of that. Did I mention I have no friends?

However, I’m sure I can’t be the only one who both loves Sunderland and got a rush of nostalgia when Pokémon Go was released. So, for the three other people like me in the world, enjoy how I desperately try to compare Jan Kirchhoff to Mewtwo and much more:

Vito Mannone – Geodude

Mannone and Geodude have wrists made of granite and reflexes to die for. For both of them, the problems start below the waist. No, not like that, you have a filthy mind. The problem is the legs. Watching Mannone take goal-kicks – and listening to the inevitable, collective groan in the Stadium of Light – is surely the tenth circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno. At least Geodude has an excuse for his kicking, seeing as he has no legs.

Billy Jones – Psyduck

I’ve been to many a game where Billy Jones has copied his doppelganger, Psyduck, and run around in a circle, seemingly chasing his own tail. Even he doesn’t know what on earth he’s doing most of the time.

John O’Shea – Slowbro

He’s been there, he’s seen it all, he’s incredibly slow, and he has the turning circle of a hermit crab. But, just like Slowbro, O’Shea has psychic tendencies, knowing where to stand in the box in order to clear the ball and clear the danger.

Lamine Kone – Machoke

Because he is built like a brick shit-house.

Lee Cattermole – Wartortle

Both Lee Barry Cattermole and Wartortle have made a career of fighting fires in the middle of a congested battlefield.


Both are fearless creatures of war. I imagine that every morning they both wake up, let out a huge battle-cry, and eat their cereal with a sword.

Jan Kirchhoff – Mewtwo

"I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are". That is some deep stuff. No, that wasn’t Plato, Nietzsche, or even Joey Barton. That was Mewtwo, the rarest and most powerful of the original Pokémon. Mewtwo controls everyone around him and cannot be defeated one-on-one. Remind you of anyone? If it doesn’t remind you of a certain, 6ft 5in German playmaker, we can’t be friends.

Jack Rodwell -  Kakuna

Has all the attributes to succeed but does bugger all with them. Literally does nothing except piss everyone off. Aye, that’s about it.

Duncan Watmore – Rapidash

OK, so Watmore can’t run 150mph and he doesn’t leave a trail of fire in his wake, but he still has acceleration to die for and takes defenders for a ride. For a ride? Get it? Because Rapidash is a horse. Oh no, don’t go, please come back.

Jermain Defoe – Charizard

He may not be Will Grigg but Jermain Defoe certainly was on fire last season. Defoe shares many things with Charizard. Both are highly evolved creatures and both are very dangerous when seemingly shackled. However, only one of them has the ability to melt my heart, and it’s the one with the penchant for Ambrosia custard.

I was going to include Jack Colback on this list too, but I couldn’t decide if he was more like Ratatta or Ekans.

Images by Dan Parker for Roker Report.

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