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Roundup: Claims ex-Juve defender contacted about Sunderland vacancy; Januzaj hails Moyes & more

There’s loads going on today, with a curious link to the vacant manager’s position to kick-off with, and an update on who’s doing what and where.

According to reports in South America - yes, yes - Sunderland have made contact with former Atalanta and Juventus defender Paolo Montero about the vacant manager’s position at the Stadium of Light.

The suggestion seems to have originated from a radio station in Argentina and has been picked up by various Spanish speaking websites, including this one.

Montero is currently manager of Argentine Primera Division outfit Rosario Central and will lead his side out in the semi-final of the Copa Argentina tonight. The reports claim that the 46-year-old initially dismissed the link to say he was fully focused on this evening’s big game.

Paulo Montero currently managing in Argentina

The former Uruguayan international earned over 60 caps for his country and spent nearly a decade as a defender for Juventus.

Montero is considered one of the Turin club’s greats and according to his wikipedia entry was renowned for his “strength, consistency, leadership and organisational skills” - four characteristics certainly missing from the current Sunderland defence.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Paolo Montero
Montero in his Juventus days playing against Manchester United
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

SkyBet have installed Montero as a 25/1 shot to be the surprise new boss of the Black Cats (well I did ask).


AcademyWatch: Ledger breaks his hooter

Sunderland centre back Michael Ledger, currently on loan at Hartlepool United, has been receiving treatment for a broken nose.

The 20-year-old smashed his hooter in Pools last league game at Torquay and will be missing for a couple of weeks while it sets.

Ledger has been impressing down at Victoria Park as Craig Harrison’s side have recovered from a poor start to the campaign to lift themselves to within a point of the Play-offs.

Elsewhere, you can check out how academy striker Andrew Nelson is getting on when his Harrogate Town side visit Spennymoor United on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off.

The fixture at the Brewery Field will be Nelson’s fourth outing for Town who are second in the National League North. Spenny are six points further back and two places below.


Januzaj celebrates Moyes new job

Former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj - who was on loan at Sunderland last season - has been heaping praise on David Moyes to celebrate his former manager’s appointment to West Ham boss.

The 22-year-old flop from the Black Cats relegation season signed for Real Sociedad in the summer and has - naturally - found some form out in Spain and earned a recall to the Belgian national side as a result.

Further proof that being an unmitigated disaster at the Stadium of Light need not be a barrier to career development, Januzaj has featured 7 times in LaLiga this season, scoring once and providing a couple of assists.

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

On the subject of the boss he worked with at Sunderland and Manchester United, Januzaj told Spanish newspaper Mudo Deportivo:

He is a good coach. Obviously, it's going to be difficult for him, but I'm happy for David, I think it was a good move and I hope everything goes well.

Erasing all memory of the spectacles which unfolded during last season’s relegation nightmare on Wearside under Moyes, Januzaj went onto hail the new West Ham boss’ style of football and single career achievement:

He likes to play good football. It is not easy sometimes because it depends on the plan you have. People must trust him because he did well for a long time at Everton.


Internationals - who’s where?

Mackem-product Jordan Pickford should make his senior England international on live telly tonight after Jack Butland was ruled out with a broken finger.

The FA haven’t called up a replacement, meaning Joe Hart and the former Black Cats stopper are the only two goalkeepers in the squad.

Pickers has had loads of practice to get him to this point in his career. He’s only ever kept 5 senior league clean sheets in fifty-one appearances turning out in a dire Sunderland team and an Everton one currently faring little better.

England Media Access
Jordan Pickford in England training this week
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Elsewhere, there’s been no word on Didier Ndong’s injury sustained in the Tees-Wear derby seemingly. The Sunderland midfielder will play no part in Gabon’s crucial World Cup Qualifier against Mali tomorrow or their friendly against Botswana on Tuesday.

Ndong was withdrawn on 55 minutes in the game against Middlesbrough on Sunday after impressing in a wider role than usual before injury put paid to his derby outing.

Bryan Oviedo is with the Costa Rica squad as they prepare for friendlies with Spain and Hungary and there’s a big weekend for John O’Shea and Aiden McGeady as the Republic of Ireland are set for the first leg of their World Cup play-off against Denmark on Saturday. The second game will be played in Dublin on Tuesday.

Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Bryan Oviedo (L) practicising his high-kicks for Costa Rica
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Sunderland midfielder Jonny Williams, on loan at the Stadium of Light this season from Crystal Palace, has withdrawn from the Wales squad which faces France and Panama and Lamine Kone will be missing from the Ivory Coast team still aiming to qualify for Russia 2018 with a crucial game against Morocco this weekend.

Joel Asoro is in line for a start with the Swedish Under-21s as they take on Hungary later in their latest qualifying match for the European Championships.

Academy All-Whites Sam Brotherton and Michael Would haven’t been selected for a New Zealand squad preparing for an epic trip across three continents to Peru next week in the World Cup Play-offs, with the first leg taking place on Saturday on home soil.