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ROKER ROUNDUP: Khazri answers his critics & ex-Sunderland striker explains his bizarre move

Poyet says Short is not to blame for club’s situation, French flop talks Sunderland move, youngster receives England call and Khazri stars - it’s the Roker Roundup!

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Laslandes discusses Sunderland move

Peter Reid was hopeful he had signed the successor to Niall Quinn when French international Lilian Laslandes signed for £3.6m from Bordeaux in the summer of 2001 but the striker never really settled at the club and left on a free transfer a couple of seasons later.

Laslandes has been talking about the move to Sunderland and explained how he never really wanted to leave Bordeaux but felt pushed towards the exit by the French club’s owner;

At the end of the season I had a meeting with the leaders of Bordeaux. They said to me: “Lilian, you still have two years left of your contract, what do you want to do?”. I say to them, “What do I want to do? I’m still under contract, if you do not want me any more, it’s up to you to tell me”.

So I’m talking to my agent, he tells me he can find a club abroad. He quickly returns to me: “I have found Sunderland, it’s a beautiful stadium, a beautiful atmosphere, I think it can match you”. So I’m watching two games from Sunderland and I can’t really identify with them but I tell him “why not, we will visit the facilities”.

I then went to the president of Bordeaux and Elie Baup (the Bordeaux manager at the time): “Do you mind that I stay [here]?”. There, I am told, “No, no worries”. But I do not feel frankness on their part. I then told my agent, “we’re going away”.

Three days after I signed for Sunderland, the president of Bordeaux calls my agent while I was next to him, “We needed the money because we are signing Christian [a Brazilian striker] from PSG”.

When they said they wanted me to stay, it was not true.

Although Laslandes was a similar size to Niall Quinn, he was a very different type of striker and never looked suited to Peter Reid’s team, add to that a player who never wanted to leave his previous club but was pushed out and informed of that just days after the move and it’s no wonder that his move to Sunderland never worked out.

Lilian Laslandes

Youngster gets England call

Highly-rated Sunderland youngster Elliot Embleton has been called up by England for an u19 training camp ahead of this summer’s European Championships. The training camp, which takes place from May 20 to May 25, will be held in La Manga, Spain and will give England manager Paul Simpson the chance to fine tune his squad ahead of the draw for the tournament, which takes place on May 30;

This camp will be a great opportunity ahead of this summer’s Euros to work with the players and focus on us as a team. We will use the time to concentrate on how we want to play and really develop that.

Once the draw for the Euros takes place at the end of May, we can work on fine tuning and start looking at our opposition.

Embleton joins the likes of Jadon Sancho, Reiss Nelson and Phil Foden at the England camp and will be hopeful of being in the final squad where England will look to defend the title they won last year.

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Khazri answers critics

Although Wahbi Khazri has starred whilst on loan at Rennes, the Tunisian hasn’t found the net since early March. Prompting the manager of Rennes, Sabri Lamouchi, to ask for more from his forward line if they are to make a run for fifth place (they currently sit 6th, one point behind St-Etienne);

We are in the race. By winning our three home games, we will probably be there. Now, the hard part is to do it. We must have more offensive efficiency, more accuracy and efficiency in the last pass.

Khazri certainly took note of his managers comments, as he made this sensational first time pass to set up James Lea Siliki for the equaliser in Rennes 2-1 win against Toulouse at the weekend.

Poyet defends Ellis Short

According to former manager Gus Poyet, in an interview with the BBC, the back-to-back relegations we’ve suffered are not actually the fault of outgoing owner Ellis Short.

Although we’ll be playing in League One in the season following Short’s impending departure and Short has had to write-off huge debts to ensure the takeover goes through, Poyet claims that the situation was entirely out of Short’s hands:

There is something inside the club that doesn’t let it be as successful as it should be, I don’t think it is anything to do with Ellis Short. We always talked regularly when he was in England, London, Sunderland or in America.

When you change the manager many times and it doesn’t get better, then people blame the directors and the chairman.

I had a fantastic time with him when I was there. We were always very honest to each other, he knows what I think about everything that was happening there and it is fantastic for him to remember those things I said to him and that will stay between us.

This is not the first time Poyet has said that there is something inside the club that prevents it from reaching the potential, with the Uruguayan uttering similar remarks whenever he has been asked for comment since his departure.

Although Poyet clearly thinks whatever is wrong at the club is outside of Short’s scope, we can only hope that the incoming regime change at the club can be the genuine fresh start that can banish those demons for good.

Sunderland v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

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