Eastleigh’s good form since the arrival of Sunderland youngster Max Stryjek continued as they won 3-0 at Barrow in the National League.
Not only did the goalkeeper keep another clean sheet, but the 22-year-old had a direct hand in the opening goal as his goal kick found Paul McCallum, who promptly turned and chipped the opposition goalkeeper - another Sunderland academy product in Joel Dixon - to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Ben Williamson and another McCallum completed the scoring for Eastleigh but Stryjek had to be alert late on to save Erico Sousa’s curling effort.
Luke Molyneux came on with 25 minutes to remaining for Gateshead with the score goalless but the Sunderland winger couldn’t inspire his team to victory, as both teams struggled in front of goal.
Molyneux picked up a booking in injury time for kicking the ball away, then there was a flurry of bookings after a bit of a set to between the teams but 0-0 was a fair result.
Academy product on Sunderland experience
James Talbot, who had a five-year spell at the Academy of Light, recently signed for League of Ireland side Bohemians and after completing his transfer, he has been speaking about his experiences at Sunderland.
The Irish goalkeeper said despite it not working out for him with the club, he does not have any regrets:
I had a decent time at Sunderland and I learned a lot, on and off the pitch. I don’t look back with any regret, it was all an experience, it was the stuff of dreams at times.
I got to travel with the first team, when Big Sam was there he’d seen me do well in training and when we played Arsenal away in the FA Cup (January 2016) I travelled with the first team.
As a kid all I’d wanted to do was wear the Dubs jersey but here I was in the Emirates, walking past players like Giroud in the tunnel for the warm-up, me a lad from Dublin with all these great, world-class players.
Jordan Pickford was ahead of me when I went over to Sunderland, even then I knew he was a top class keeper as he was a confident lad.
Near the end of his spell at Sunderland, he had a loan spell at Darlington which did not work out but by that point Talbot realised that his time at the club was coming to an end:
By that stage I was sick of it, I was living on my own, I wasn’t enjoying it, there were keepers ahead of me and I knew I wasn’t going to play so I asked to come home early, before my contract was up, I knew from before Christmas that I wanted to leave and do something different as by this stage I wasn’t getting much out of it.
Severe injury for Alvarez
The less said about Ricky Alvarez’s Sunderland career the better but after leaving Sampdoria in the summer, the forward hoped to rekindle his career in Mexico with Atlas.
However just twelve games into his Liga MX career, the Argentine international has suffered a severe knee injury which saw him sidelined until well into 2019.
The 30-year-old underwent surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus after he was injured just eight minutes into a game against Leon at the beginning of the month.
Former target discusses failed Sunderland move
Dutch international midfielder Jonathan de Guzman was a target for former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat in the summer of 2015, only for a move to both Sunderland and Bournemouth fall through.
The former Swansea midfielder has been talking about his crazy experiences that summer in an interview with de Volkskrant.
In the interview, de Guzman explains how despite a ‘bulging stomach’ Napoli did not believe he was injured at the at time and that had self-diagnosed himself:
They did not believe I had any trouble. I could walk, but not turn or shoot completely. They thought I made it up, that I diagnosed myself. That was said to me so often that I started to doubt the signals of my own body. It was sick.
De Guzman was summoned to the hotel room of the Italian club’s technical director Cristiano Guintoli as Napoli looked to sell him with the transfer window winding down.
Guintoli handed de Guzman the phone and ordered him to speak to Dick Advocaat about a move to Sunderland. The midfielder did so but explained he needed to get himself fit before he could move which Sunderland’s manager respected, according to the player.
Then de Guzman asked Advocaat to speak to Guintoli on his behalf, due to the behaviour of the technical director:
Can you talk to this Giuntoli for a moment? He’s a bit aggressive.” He wanted that. But yes, Giuntoli hardly speaks English. So that did not work out.
The next day, with Bournemouth also showing interest, de Guzman says he was told by Guintoli’s assistant:
“Listen if you do not leave, he gets really angry. If you do not leave you are dead in Napoli, you will not play anymore.”
The whole day went on like this. Until Giuntoli had to leave to make other deals.
With no move forthcoming due to the injury, de Guzman flew back to the Netherlands to discuss his career with his agents. They decided the best course of action would be for the player to stay at Napoli to recover from injury before moving on, something that didn’t sit well with Guintoli:
I was in the locker room and Giuntoli said, ”Hey piece of sh*t, come here.“ We went to the players lounge. Giuntoli said: ‘You would leave, you promised it’. I said, “I did not promise anything at all.”
He suddenly hit my face like that. Then I went crazy. We started fighting, chairs fell over. My team mate Zuniga joined us, pulled us apart and said to me: take your things and go home.
The midfielder was eventually put through by the Dutch national team doctor to a specialist in sports hernias Per Holmich who immediately diagnosed the problem:
Ten minutes! He needed ten minutes to observe: sports hernia, operating.
Despite that diagnosis, Napoli’s club doctor refused to allow de Guzman to be treated:
I do not believe in an operation. I do not want to be the one who destroys your career.
He was eventually sent on loan to Capri, an experience which left him depressed and it wasn’t until his loan ended there that he was given treatment for his hernia:
When I was 29, I was with a sort of amateur club. I was not in shape. Physically not, mentally not. Was there in a hotel. I found myself pathetic. Depressed? Something like that maybe.
Although he believes he is now playing the best football of his career at Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, de Guzman is glad to put the record straight on that period of his career:
There are footballers who are completely broken. You know, on the outside you do not see how things go. A player who is not playing is no longer interesting. The clubs have communication. Now it’s my turn.