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Roker Roundup: Did Oxford beat Sunderland to signing of Spanish midfielder in the summer?

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Oxford boss Karl Robinson has alleged that they beat Sunderland to the signing of a midfielder in the summer; an 18-year old winger has been linked; and Lillian Laslandes has spoken about what went wrong on Wearside.

Scottish winger on Sunderland’s radar?

Sunderland are interested in young Scottish winger Owen McGinty according to reports.

The Scottish Sun claim the 18-year-old is assessing his options before signing for a club, with Sunderland, Bournemouth and Swansea City all interested in his services.

McGinty started his career with Crosshouse BC where he scored 135 goals in one season before moving to the youth set-up at Rangers - where he was particularly prolific against Celtic, scoring 12 goals in just five games against their local rivals.

He was most recently on the books of Ayr United Football Academy where he featured for the club’s under-18 side.


Oxford boss praises academy product

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson has given Sunderland academy product Alex Gorrin high praise, calling him ‘a phenomenal signing’.

The Spaniard signed for the U’s from Motherwell on a free transfer in the summer and has been instrumental in Oxford’s 14-game unbeaten run, with Robinson revealing that he beat Sunderland to his signature in the summer.

While other players have been getting accolades for Oxford, Robinson is happy that the Spaniard has gone under the radar:

While we’re all talking about Tariqe [Fosu] and Matty Taylor getting the accolades, James Henry signing a new deal and Cameron Brannagan scoring goals, the one person that gels most of our good play together is Alex Gorrin.

He is a phenomenal signing for this club.

Does he frustrate me and do silly things? Yes, but he’s the hardest-working man I’ve coached and he’s so desperate to do well.

I can’t get this boy out of my head because of how good he’s been this year.

I’ll sometimes come in on a day off and he’s out there with a bag of balls on his own.

We finished training the other week and I was looking for him for a meeting, but he had joined in with the under 18s.

I was sat at a game the other week and I was speaking to someone at a Championship club, he asked who has been my best player and I said Alex had been one of the best.

The guy didn’t know who he was, which shows how good the recruitment was in the summer.

We only had some small competition from Sunderland, but other than that it was quite an easy one to get done. We’re very thankful he’s here.

Liverpool U21 v Sunderland U21 - Barclays U21s Premier League Photo by Chris BrunskillGetty Images

French international on Sunderland experience

Peter Reid signed French international striker Lilian Laslandes as a possible successor to Niall Quinn back in 2001, paying French side Bordeaux £3.6m for the then 29-year-old.

The move did not work out at all, with only a solitary goal against Sheffield Wednesday coming from his 13 appearances in all competitions for the club.

Laslandes has been looking back on that move with French radio station Gold FM and told how he was shut down when he suggested ways to improve the team’s form:

I made the choice to go there [Sunderland] and when I watched the tapes at the time, I thought it would be difficult...

The first games we played were against Celtic, Glasgow Rangers, and other teams; it played good football. I told my father: “I thought I was going to play more English, up in the air” and there, you can jump, look for the foul, they never whistle.

As time went on, as soon as the first league match arrived, so I saw the ball pass all around me, we didn’t have too many results, and I tried to say that we could play differently, because we had the players for that.

I was told: “little French boy, you’re not going to explain football to us”.

We got into a bit of a conflict, but I didn’t spend long on it. There was a clash with coach Peter Reid, a former English international. After six months, my agent told me that if I wanted, there was the possibility of going to Cologne with a French-speaking coach. I told him I didn’t want to stay in Sunderland, especially with what had happened. And so I went to Cologne.

After his spell on loan at Cologne, Laslandes said he wanted to return to Sunderland as he had a point to prove but did not get that chance as he was forced to train away from the rest of the team. A situation which made him realise he had to leave the club:

The next year, I wanted to come back to Sunderland physically ready, in order to show them that they had made a mistake. But when I got there, bad surprise, the first training there, after the physical training, I was told to go and train away... alone. That’s when I called my agent.

Soccer - FA Barclaycard Premiership - Sunderland v Leeds United Photo by John Walton/EMPICS via Getty Images