It’s the 15th of June 2017 and the summer exodus is underway. Everton launch a club record bid of £30 million for Wearside’s very own Jordan Pickford, and Sunderland waste no time accepting it. We’re quite understandably devastated but entirely empathetic - Pickford is destined for greatness, and can’t be wasting any more of his years in the Championship. We always knew he’d go.
Four days later and Vito Mannone is out the door. A £2 million relative pittance is set down on the table by Reading and subsequently swept up and into the hands of Martin Bain amid exclamations of “efficiency”. We think back to the cup semi-final away at Old Trafford before our minds wander over to the 8-0 battering at St. Mary’s, and we ultimately conclude indifference to Mannone’s departure. We’ll be fine without him.
Oh, how wrong we were.
Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter came in as the replacements from Blackburn and FC Utrecht respectively - but you could only call them replacements insofar as they both wear gloves and stand between goalposts. We’re seventeen games into the season, and both ‘keepers have already given us enough reason to believe that they’re both abysmal.
Simon Grayson persisted with a poorly performing Steele for the first few games of the season - in spite of the (admittedly collective) horror show that was the 0-5 home friendly loss to Celtic - leading the fans to cry out in hysteric indignation for Ruiter to be given a chance to impress that was long overdue.
Plan B, however, was seldom more effective than plan A. The Dutchman was beaten far too easily on far too many different occasions - the matches against Sheffield United, Bolton and most recently Millwall being notable examples.
But there remains one option that has sat in the shadows throughout all of this chop, change, anticipation and disappointment. There’s one ‘keeper, a perpetual number 3, that has remained anonymous ever since his arrival a year ago.
Remember a certain Mika Domingues? I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t.
The lad must be sat on the sidelines wondering what the hell he has to do to at least be considered a viable option. While the former Portugal U21 international has turned out on a number of occasions for our u23s side, he’s yet to make a single appearance for our first team in any competition.
There is seemingly no reason to believe that Mika is wanted on Wearside, putting aside the implication that he’d do for an emergency goalkeeping option. But with Steele and Ruiter both regularly turning out dire performances, could it really be said that Mika doesn’t at least deserve one single, solitary game?
Now, I’m not about to make some outlandish claim that Mika is a criminally underrated player who was wrongly cast aside by the callousness of Moyes and then the incompetence of Grayson and blah blah blah...
... but what I am going to say is that Steele and Ruiter have both given us reason to believe they’re awful, so if Mika is awful too when what difference does it make? If the worst case scenario is another horror show between the sticks, then we’ve broke even.
Ultimately, we may as well just say “sod it” give the lad a go.
What do you think? Vote in the poll below.
Should Mika be given an opportunity to play for the first team?
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