Gav - Time to plug in Ruiter
I accept that Sunderland would benefit from some continuity in who Simon Grayson selects to make up our back five, but I don’t necessarily blame that for the absolutely diabolical performances that we’ve seen so far this season from Jason Steele.
The free-kick that Steele conceded at the weekend down at Brentford just sums him up, for me. Quite how he managed to get beaten by a strike which went to the side of the goal he was standing in is beyond me, and it proves that despite his undeniable experience at Championship level he’s just nowhere near good enough - and that there is perhaps a very good reason why he went down to League One with Blackburn last season.
I think that we have to immediately address the rate at which we concede goals, starting on Saturday. Billy Jones is not good enough, nor is Steele, and the pair of them need to be bombed out of our defence - and Grayson must stick by the five that he selects.
Robbin Ruiter, granted, has hardly covered himself in glory in his rare outings this season but at no point have I felt as unnerved about the Dutch stopper as I have when watching Jason Steele. I actually feel a little sorry for Ruiter, because I’m not entirely sure he’s done enough to warrant a place on the bench whilst the man ahead of him continues to be selected whilst he ships goals at an alarming rate.
Everybody knows that we’re susceptible when facing set pieces and Bristol City have some unbelievable threats that will look to target one of out many weak areas, with players like Aiden Flint particularly prolific in the opposition box. We have to be wary of that threat, and we can’t ignore how we allowed QPR a way into the game just a few weeks ago when Idrissa Sylla scored the opener from a floated cross. With that in mind, the taller and more rangey Ruiter has to play to give us a better chance when defending against corners.
And, regardless of the result, Grayson must stick by him between the sticks going forward. He’s the better of the two keepers, and I really don’t care about how much experience Steele has at this level - the fact is, he’s just not very good.
Graham: Stick with Steele
Before you ask, I’m not on any sort of mind altering substances as I write this. I know he’s crap - infact he’s utter garbage.
That said, one of the main problems we’ve had this season has been the tragic rate at which we concede goals, something that hasn’t been helped by the fact we’ve not been able to keep a settled defence.
We’ve had Browning and Kone, Kone and O’Shea, Wilson and Browning and every other possible combination, so it’s not like Steele has had much of a chance to get to know his back four - and, if you remember, the problems we had in keeping a clean sheet under Sam Allardyce didn’t iron out till he had his chosen keeper and a settled back four. Chopping and changing ‘keepers and defenders is unlikely to help our cause.
Stick with a number one and a regular defence, and we’ll improve.
A former Sunderland goalkeeper mentioned that Steele was very much a confidence player in the aftermath of the Brentford draw - so he must have been shot to pieces from the Celtic game onwards. And let’s be honest, we’ve all sort of expected him to fail since then. I know that he needs to be bigger than that and overcome it, but surely the kid isn’t as bad as he’s been showing as he’s played in over 200 games at this level. He’s a local boy, so he should at least understand what playing for a club like this means - I don’t think his problem is a lack of caring.
I think Grayson needs to try and get his head right and give him back some confidence that he’s obviously severly lacking. I’m certainly not his biggest fan, but I’m tired of the negativity that surrounds us right now, so I’m saying let’s back him and give him one last chance.
Who do you agree with?
This poll is closed
Gav - Robbin Ruiter
Graham - Jason Steele