Maja on Bordeaux move
Josh Maja is yet to make his debut for Bordeaux since his £3.5m move from Sunderland but the striker was named on the bench for the first time during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking after the game to AFP, Maja said he moved to the French club to make a name for himself and to develop. He also says featuring in a game that featured the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva makes him feel grateful for being able to make the move:
I just felt I’d get more opportunities abroad, so that was the main reason I left and I thought in France, at Bordeaux, I’d get an opportunity to make a name for myself and go from there.
I’m around probably the biggest names in world football, so that is just a blessing. I’m grateful.
I’ve got four and a half years here, so I’ve got all that time to settle in and make a name for myself, develop, improve as a player and a person, and that’s why I’m pleased to be here.
When asked about the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die, Maja says the cameras being present never bothered him:
I didn’t really take notice of it. Obviously they had a job to do, and I wasn’t really bothered with the cameras around.
Although the 20-year-old has only just signed for the French club, he is already dreaming of a move to Arsenal, the club he supported as a child:
Yeah obviously that is a dream, that is the team I support, so it would be a great opportunity to play there.
Maja could make his debut for Bordeaux when they host Toulouse at the weekend, a possibility that increased when he started up front during a training session on Thursday.
More on Stockdale appointment
Former Sunderland defender Paul Heckingbottom was appointed Hibernian manager on Wednesday, with ex-Sunderland coach Robbie Stockdale named as his assistant.
Stockdale had numerous roles at Sunderland from first team coach to caretaker manager on three separate occasions but the majority of his time at the club was as head coach for the under-23s and it’s that experience of bringing through young players that he believes is vitally important:
We’ve known each other for a long time and came through the FA’s system with our badges, although we’re both relatively young we’ve got good experience and we’ve promoted young players. We’re really looking forward to the challenge and getting started.
Supporters should expect a team that will give their all, work hard and be attack-minded. If you look at Paul’s Barnsley team they punched above their weight for long periods in the Championship and he gave young players a chance with some really good experienced players around them
It’s a good squad. They’re a hard-working group of players. We want to put our own stamp on the tactics. There’s a lot to work with and that’s the exciting bit.
The training centre’s really good. I hadn’t been here before but it’s really impressive. There will be no excuses on that front.
The way football’s going, if you can produce homegrown players through your own academy that have an affinity with your club then supporters get behind them.
It’s great for everybody. Add to that the experience from outside the building, hopefully we can build a powerful squad.
Heckingbottom revealed why he brought Stockdale with him to Easter Road and said he tried to take him from Sunderland whilst he was in charge at Barnsley:
Robbie’s someone I tried to take down to Barnsley, he’s someone I’ve known for a lot of years and I spoke to David Moyes about him when he was at Sunderland but I wasn’t able to bring him down at that point.
He’s a good coach who works well with players, developing players and has experience of managing first teams. He’s someone who understands what I want – again, he’s just a good fit.
Bale departs Hartlepool
Sunderland youngster Adam Bale had joined National League side Hartlepool United on trial last week and played in a friendly against Middlesbrough.
He was joined on trial at Pools by academy product Rees Greenwood, who is a free agent after leaving Falkirk in October.
Both players have now departed the club but manager Craig Hignett says nothing has been decided yet and is keen to ensure that any trialists will be with Hartlepool for the long haul:
All three came in, have done reasonably well and have all gone back, we got them in for a week and, as a manager, I’ll look at anyone.
If they can improve us then it’s well-worth looking at.
There will be loads of trailists come in before now and the end of the season, I would guess but as of yet, nothing has happened with any of them.
Anything would be with a view for next season, I don’t want anyone as a stop-gap. I don’t want them coming in until the end of the season and then going somewhere else.