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Quick Kicks: Is Larsson finished? Borini 'arrogant & bitter'; Too easy for Everton - SAFC lack leadership

In this week's Quick Kicks we discuss the futures of Sebastian Larsson and Fabio Borini, plus a look at how easy it was for Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday - just how much are we missing Lee Cattermole?

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Is Larsson finished?

He's no' Finnish, he's from Sweden...

On this week's Roker Rapport Podcast (click here to listen if you haven't done so already!) I mentioned that Sebastian Larsson's performances since becoming a first team regular again have led me to question the principles that I've always had when judging Sunderland players - let me just further clarify what I meant by that.

You see, I've seen some absolute shite over the years watching Sunderland. I've seen us with far worse teams than the one that we have now, and I've seen us at a much lower ebb than we find ourselves currently. Being shite isn't an unfamiliar feeling for a Sunderland fan - we've pretty much always been unable to go beyond being just a struggling Premier League side since we returned to the top flight almost ten years ago.

And when judging a player I will always give them the benefit of the doubt if they at least try their best - after all, it's all we ask from any player afforded the privilege of representing our fantastic football club on the pitch.

But, is it really enough? When it comes down to it, do we need to start separating the hard workers from the headless chickens in our side?

Sebastian Larsson is a tremendous professional and has been a great servant to this football club, and I think in the years to come - when he's long gone - I'll remember most of his time here fondly. That said, he's just not up to scratch any more, and we're suffering because of it.

He's not the only one, mind, but he's the most prominent example from the players that tend to start week in, week out.

Jan Kirchhoff's return cannot come any quicker, to be honest. Sunderland's midfield and the lack of consistency in selection (though that can be completely attributed to the injuries that we've had to deal with all season) is the main reason, in my eyes, why we have been bottom of the league for much of this sorry campaign.

Sulky Borini strikes again

Does Fabio Borini want to be here?

After a string of abject, gutless performances he lost his place in the side down at Crystal Palace and, after we had won, he missed out on a starting place for the game against Southampton.

Having sat out that pitiful defeat against the Saints, Borini was rewarded with another start this past weekend - ahead of the likes of Lynden Gooch and Wahbi Khazri who are, right now, his competition for a place - and he once more did absolutely nothing to show the manager or the supporters why he should be starting games every week.

And it's the level of performance that we've come to expect from Fabio since he returned back from injury in December - this isn't the same hungry, ambitious Fabio Borini that captured our hearts during his loan spell at the club in 2013/2014, but a bitter and arrogant player that is still ruing the fact he never got to prove himself at Liverpool and quite obviously feels that playing for a team rooted to the bottom of the table is beneath him and his abilities.

Come the summer, Fabio Borini will be one of the first rats to jump off the sinking ship - and I'll be there waving him off.

Too easy for Everton

I can accept losing to a better team. Everton are a fantastic side and they have players in their lineup that we can only dream of having - the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin would walk into most teams in this country and I can completely understand why, on their day, they will beat us more often than not.

But still... we have to at least compete, don't we? I think that our players generally put the effort in, but there's clearly a key component missing in our team that many of the players just cannot offer us - leadership.

There's nobody marauding around and dragging their team mates through games by the scruff of the neck. There's nobody demanding more of the players that aren't pulling their weight. There's nobody putting big tackles in, and showing the fans that this team is going to just be blown away with ease.

I suppose it goes back to the point I made earlier about Sebastian Larsson. Just running about loads and not actually doing anything isn't good enough - we need someone to take control now and own some of the responsibility that comes with getting out of the bottom three in the Premier League.

Sigh - I miss Lee Cattermole dearly.

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