Papy Djilobodji: D
Five months ago we noted here that, “Papy Djilobodji has recently, to the surprise of many, completely changed the perception of his abilities amongst the Sunderland supporters”. Sadly it seems that may have been premature on our part, and while a short upturn in form fooled us all for a while it once again became clear that Papy is out of his depth in the Premier League. Injuries aside he is sorely lacking communication skills, and is ultimately a liability in the back line.
Brian Oviedo: C
Brian Oviedo is not a bad player. He isn't the attacking threat nor is he the defensive catastrophe of his predecessor; he is a mixed bag. He offers something going forward but his pace isn't exactly blistering, and he can be tidy at the back if he's fully supported by his comrades. It's not like he's set the world alight, but he has put in some good shifts - it wouldn't bother me to see him kept as a backup to a better left back.
Billy Jones: C
Billy Jones has solidified his claim for the right back-berth, and in true Sunderland fashion he is neither particularly good nor particularly bad. His timing leaves a lot to be desired, and he's not the best tackler in the game, but his work ethic is solid and he at least seems to understand his duties even if he can't fulfill them to our collective expectations.
Donald Love: D
The best thing about Donald Love was his mother had a good time some twenty years ago and the fun stopped there. Confined to the U-23’s squad since recovering fitness, the purchase of Donald Love is a mystery that we may never solve. Poor.
Javier Manquillo: D -
While recent injuries have forced Manquillo back into the starting line up towards the end of the season, his absence has done little to improve him. It's an easy mistake to make loaning a player from a top club like Atlético Madrid and assuming he'll do a job. But it's apparent to see why he was loaned out in the first place, he has never fit in at Sunderland, and thankfully he never will.
John O'Shea: C
John O'Shea is like a tin of Ronson. He O'Shea's his way through another year at Sunderland and in all likelihood will continue for at least one more. There are moments in a game that you can believe John O'Shea learned at the feet of one of the greatest managers of our time, but age creeps its way through his bones and it's clear to all that 90 minutes is now asking a bit much of the stalwart. Allegedly his personality and charisma are his most valuable attributes, and so it would be best if we relied on him a lot less. Giving him a more active role in the coaching of others and perhaps 20 minutes now and then to see out a win is the best option for the clubs and the player going forward.
Lamine Kone: C
I'm going to stick my neck out a little and give Lamine what could be described as an unfair score. It's certainly true that his best days as a Sunderland player came under Allardyce, but that isn't for lack of ability. It reflects poorly on his character that he clearly gave up some months ago, but when you consider that half of the squad and almost all of the fans gave up on David Moyes a long time before that it can perhaps be understood, if not forgiven, and not effect his individual scoring as a player. When Kone plays he really plays, and it isn't like he believed the club was too small for him.
He gets extra points for choking opponents that seek to tower over his teammates – his passion for his team and for the game itself is evident and I fear he's taking the brunt of the “work-shy” brush in an extraordinary situation that most capable managers would be able to eliminate completely with a very traditional arm around the shoulder. Losing him is a crying shame because he'll go on to be a very useful player for a manager that can actually manage people.
Jason Denayer: B-
It's fairly easy to see why Denayer is thought of highly by his mother club and why a loan move was the best way to progress him as a player. He seems eager to learn and improve his trade in the centre, clearly a talent for the future.
I would love to be able to lay claim to Denayer as one of our own products but sadly we'll see the back of him before we see the best of him, no doubt Manchester City will be eager to keep him in as competitive a league as possible.
Joleon Lescott: N/A
I have no idea why we gave Joleon Lescott a salary for four months. He played twice, and kept the bench nice and warm, I suppose.
Duncan Watmore: B+
One of the rarest sights today – a Sunderland player that has nothing to be ashamed of. We have missed Duncan, we have missed his grit and his determination and his pace. With a squad full of players of his ability, with his willpower, we would be flying high indeed. Duncan Watmore has his faults; many opportunities to nail a final pass or get a shot away have gone unnoticed as Duncan has forgotten to look up, so preoccupied with gunning down the field. But he is very young, he has much to learn but there isn't any doubt that he will and fast. He will keep going from strength to strength and we're lucky to have the commitment of a young man of his fibre.
Fabio Borini: D -
It's almost painful for me to write this because there was a time not so long ago that I believed Fabio Borini was exactly the sort of player we needed. There is a clear talent in the man, there's a reason he's capped for his country and we have all seen some small glimpse of that in his time at Sunderland. But taking those rare, emotional goals and his defensive vigilance out of the equation, you have a very average player suffering from a bruised and inflated ego and if he doesn't address his selfish faults he will see out his days just so. I believe there is genuine class in Fabio, but he will never be able to produce it regularly if he continues to feel sorry for himself.
Adnan Januzaj: D -
Adnan Januzaj never wanted to be here. From what I can tell, anything less than Champions League football is deemed beneath him. It's one incredible feat for a man so young to build such a pedestal to place himself upon, considering he's done precisely fuck all. Another player that could be so much better than himself if only he could control how aroused he gets when he looks at himself in the mirror. I imagine down time for Adnan involves watching YouTube montages of his occasionally brilliant footwork and rubbing hot oil into what he truly believes are the most bosh abs of all time. We hardly knew him and I doubt anyone in this country ever will.
Victor Anichebe: D -
Our grandchildren will speak of it in hushed tones, warmed by the night fires beneath post-apocalyptic skies – the Three Game Resurgence of Victor Anichebe! Nah, they won't, because he's a bit naff to be honest. In all seriousness, beyond a very short spell in which Victor sparked back into life, he has been as effective as we all originally expected him to be. He's at the end of a half-decent career blighted by constant injury woes. If I was him I'd have been attending school part-time and learning a new vocation because football doesn't look like his best choice for the future.
Jermain Defoe: B
Jermain Defoe is a consummate professional and I mean that in both a good and bad way. In spite of his advancing years he has not lost his pace or his predatory nature; he is still a very cunning player and is more than worth a large pay check because he almost guarantees a dozen goals. However, the other side of Defoe's professionalism is far more negative. With the knowledge of his worth and the twilight of his career Jermain picks and chooses when and how hard he works. He isn't foolish, and I'm sure he saw through David Moyes at the same time as the rest of us - it has been evident in his demeanour and his performances. A great striker, a man who knows his worth but necessity forces a mercenary mentality in the man now. We can't hold it against him because who would want to go down with this sinking ship? He would be wasted in the Championship and frankly we couldn't afford to keep him anyway. Good luck to the man.