Dutchman impresses - will he play on Saturday?
Simon Grayson gave Robbin Ruiter his first competitive start for Sunderland last night in our Carabao Cup victory over Carlisle United, and the ‘Flying Dutchman’ took his chance having turned in a fine display between the sticks.
Ruiter impressed in his two games as a trialist in pre-season and, after Jason Steele’s horror show against Celtic, there were many calls for the former FC Utrecht man to start the season as Grayson’s number one.
Despite Steele’s shaky start, the Sunderland manager has kept faith with the former Middlesbrough stopper and it’s now up in the air whether or not he’ll retain his place in the league when we travel to Barnsley on Saturday.
Grayson, in his post match comments, wouldn’t be drawn on his team selection for this weekend’s trip to Oakwell but gave a nod towards the fact that several of those that performed admirably yesterday evening may well be given another chance to start in a competitive fixture.
When he (Ruiter) was required to make saves, he made them, and that’s why we signed him after the trial period. He’d done enough in training and in the two games he played for us to make that decision to sign him permanently. It gives us that competition for places that we needed. I was pleased with him and I was pleased with quite a lot of the players that came in tonight and who haven’t figured.
That’s what the players are required to do, they get paid to play and put on performances. A lot of them have done some decent things, we’ve obviously got to make improvements in certain areas but we’ve been asked a lot of questions tonight and ultimately we came through the game. I’ve not seen much more than what I expected of the players, I watch them every day in training, that’s where I learn about them, how good they are and the deficiencies they have at times. Its nice to see that they’ve stood firm and won a cup tie.
Costa Rica international left back Bryan Oviedo made his return to the senior fold last night - much to the delight of Sunderland fans - and he did fairly well considering this was his first taste of action all season.
Fans now are clamouring for his inclusion on Saturday after Brendan Galloway’s poor start to the season - and Simon Grayson has not rebutted the idea of including the former Everton man in his team.
I thought Bryan was lively, he played that wing-back role really well. He just felt his calf tighten, it was just a pre-caution to bring off. He could have told me 20 seconds earlier before we made the substitutions mind! He gives you good quality, handles the ball well, and is energetic.
Grayson on Youth
In his short time as Sunderland boss, Simon Grayson has shown that he is more than willing to give our younger players a chance to shine - a refreshing change from previous managers who would rather spend fortunes before affording opportunities to the products of our youth system.
Last night, Lynden Gooch was handed a starting berth and took his opportunity with a lovely goal and an impressive assist.
Speaking after the game about the USMNT international’s performance, Grayson said:
I think that’s what you’ve seen in the games. He’s energetic, he’s tried to affect it, he’s a lively character in training. These young kids are going to get an opportunity. I thought he did well, Asoro did OK too, it’s just nice to have these options available.
This academy is renowned for bringing through players and I’m renowned for giving them opportunities. He’s done himself no harm. After the game you can see we’re getting that unity back with the supporters, they’re cheering the players and are happy to have won a game. We had to dig deep and be resilient. We’ve shown we won’t be a soft touch and we’ll dig deep when we have too.
Leadbitter speculation ended by Boro boss?
Garry Monk spoke to the media last night following Middlesbrough’s 3-0 victory over Scunthorpe United, and he addressed the issue of players leaving, in particular Grant Leadbitter - a man who has been continually linked in recent weeks with a move back to Wearside.
The former Swansea boss proclaimed:
We don’t want to lose anyone. The squad has been achieved by design, and the players that are here now are ones that we want to keep. It’s more the incomings that we are focused on now, rather than any more outgoings. We’ve said it clearly, and the owner has said it himself – anyone that we want to keep, we can keep. We don’t have to sell anyone.