Maguire back running
Sunderland’s George Honeyman was a guest speaker at the Monkwearmouth Football Academy yesterday, and the club captain gave a Q&A to the pupils about his football career, as well as looking ahead to the Checkatrade Trophy Final.
Honeyman said the team’s aim is still to win the title and believes the title race is far from over:
George says league title is still the aim and believes the title race is far from over. #AskGeorge— Monkwearmouth Football Academy (@MonkwearmouthFA) March 14, 2019
During the question and answer session, Honeyman also revealed that Chris Maguire is back running again after suffering a broken leg in the 4-2 win over Gillingham last month:
Honeyman confirms Chris Maguire is back running #SAFC— Monkwearmouth Football Academy (@MonkwearmouthFA) March 14, 2019
The forward was also pictured taking his picture taken ahead of that trip to Wembley for the Checkatrade Trophy Final:
All set for the #CheckatradeTrophyFinal.— Checkatrade Trophy (@CheckatradeTrpy) March 14, 2019
See you at @WembleyStadium, @SunderlandAFC!#EFL | #SAFC pic.twitter.com/Nj2BfR0cMH
McLeish praise for McLaughlin
Jon McLaughlin was called up to the latest Scotland squad by Alex McLeish this week.
The Sunderland number one’s chances of getting a game for his country increased after the international retirement of Allan McGregor and McLeish was quick to point out the sensational form of McLaughlin ahead of the squad getting together:
Jon McLaughlin is on a mission to get Sunderland back into the Championship, they’ve had a couple of bad years but John’s form has been exceptional.
Stop-start for Robson
Sunderland youngster Ethan Robson has been in and out of the Dundee side since signing for the Scottish Premiership side on loan in January.
Slight injuries have prevented the midfielder from being a regular Dens Park - with academy product Andrew Nelson also picking up knocks - but Dundee boss Jim McIntyre was glad to see Robson play the entire game in the 1-0 home defeat to Hearts at the weekend:
It’s been stop-start for him.
Both of the boys who we’ve taken from Sunderland haven’t had their troubles to seek with picking up injuries.
It was good to see him get 90 minutes under his belt.
Januzaj on Moyes’ football
Adnan Januzaj had an unsuccessful loan spell at Sunderland during the 2016-17 season, with the Belgian winger struggling to impose himself on the side as the club were relegated to the Championship under the management of his former Manchester United boss David Moyes.
Speaking to Radio Marca Donostia, Januzaj says although the overall experience at Sunderland was good for him, the actual football was difficult due to the team’s style of play being too direct:
In Sunderland it was very difficult, because the team did not play much with the ball, it did not touch it much, it was always above my head and not on the foot, but it was a good experience for me.
Young Australian on life at Sunderland
Australian youth international Jacob Young has been a regular for Sunderland’s under-23 side this season and the 19-year-old has been discussing life at the Academy of Light with ftbl.com.au.
The centre-half explained how he came to sign for the club back in 2016 as a 15-year-old and says playing for Sunderland is crazy:
I did a few tours of England, that’s how Sunderland and a few other clubs first saw me. A year or so after that I came back to trial for some teams. I went to Sunderland, I went to Fulham and I went to Arsenal.
Long story short, I chose Sunderland. At first it was a massive eye-opener. Coming from young, grassroots Australian football straight to a professional club was a massive step.
It’s definitely taken some time to adjust to it. I’m still learning now but the standard is a lot better, quicker, a lot more physical. But it’s 100% been a great move for me. It’s a massive fanbase, a massive club. It’s crazy.
The north-east is massively football-orientated. It’s been the perfect club for me in terms of fanbase, their values and things like that.
Discussing the club’s relegation to League One, he said not much has changed on the pitch for the youth sides but that there have been notable changes around the academy:
When I moved, we were in the Premier League, playing against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea every week.
Nothings changed in terms of we play against in terms of academy teams, in the Under-18s and Under-23s. But in terms of first-team and things around the academy, there’s definitely been changes.
Having double relegation, as there would at any club. But we’re definitely on the up now, there’s good vibes around the place. Everything’s looking up. This is my second year as a pro and I’ve got next year to look forward to as well.
Personally this season for me has been good. As a team it’s been tough, not getting a lot of results. But in the Under-23s it’s a lot about development, trying to improve as a player.
I think it’s been good, we don’t win a lot, which doesn’t sound great, but you learn a lot from these types of experiences, definitely.
His father Stuart played for the likes of Hull City, Scunthorpe United and Northampton Town and speaking last month, believes Sunderland is the perfect place for his son to develop:
The next pre-season will be crucial for him, he’ll be looking to be in and around the first team then.
Sunderland have had a difficult period, but they have new owners who are a lot more engaged and understand what it means to the supporters.
Jacob had options to go to other clubs but he always felt Sunderland was the best place for him to develop, and I was more than happy with that decision, in so many respects, it’s absolutely the perfect place for him.