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Player Ratings: Belenenses 1-0 Sunderland - Here’s how the Lads rated after defeat in Portugal

Sunderland played fairly well this evening in Portugal but were caught on the break and ultimately lost the game through a single strike, going down 1-0 at the hands of Primeira Liga side Belenenes SAD. Here’s how our man watching the match rated the Lads tonight.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Checkatrade Trophy - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by John Walton/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Jon McLaughlin - 6/10: He was largely restricted to the role of observer in the first half - though he did see one effort crash off his bar from a free kick which had left him stranded on his line. Not sure he could have done much about their goal sadly - the pass which split us open left him in a rather unfortunate position.

Conor McLaughlin - 6/10: Very comfortable on the ball and seems to work well alongside Willis, knowing his teammate has the pace to cover and get us out of tricky situations. Made a great recovery tackle late in the game to deny Belenenses a second.

Jordan Willis - 8/10: Looked an absolute touch of class whenever he was involved. It was weird watching our back three be marshalled by a lad who is only 5ft11 but his size doesn’t actually matter as he’s so good in the air, and so quick on the floor. Really like what I’ve seen of this fella so far and can only hope he’s got even more in his locker to show us.

Tom Flanagan - 6/10: Playing on the left of the three he looked relatively comfortable, and because Belenenses rarely tried to press us up the park it allowed him to carry the ball out and get it into Leadbitter’s feet a lot quicker than we’d seen him do it last season.

Luke O’Nien - 6/10: Worked hard but rarely in the game, in truth. Nice to see that in this new system we have hard-working, athletic players who can hug the line and make it tough for opposition wingers to get in behind and cause us issues.

Denver Hume - 5/10: Thought he didn’t look as sharp as he has done in other games but the intense training and the heat over in Portugal will do that to you, I suppose. Still did his very best to get forward and support the attack where he could.

Grant Leadbitter - 7/10: Makes passing the ball look so effortless at times. Enjoyed watching his range tonight - he was just as adept at playing it quickly into feet as he was over the top and in behind for Watmore to expose the lack of pace that Belenenses had in defence.

Dylan McGeouch - 6/10: Kept things ticking over quietly in the middle of the park whilst Leadbitter took up the leadership role in the centre. McGeouch has a big part to play this season and, in this new system, we need midfielders like him who can cover a lot of ground and fill in wherever they’re needed.

Duncan Watmore - 6/10: Some great interplay with Embleton should have seen him score early in the game but he couldn’t put his shot on target. He was a massive threat to Belenenses in behind throughout but his lack of finesse right at the end of pretty much every move he was involved in was a source of frustration. Gets himself into some fantastic positions but his inability to play a good ball or get a shot away is what really hurts his chances of being taken seriously as a regular starter in this team going forward.

Elliot Embleton - 8/10: He was at the heart of just about everything we did well in the opening 45 minutes and his creative flair is a breath of fresh air in a team that has been sorely lacking a player capable of delivering a killer pass from the attack for quite some time.

Will Grigg - 5/10: Uninvolved and rarely got himself into good positions. I know Grigg’s game is all about scoring goals and it’s ultimately the responsibility of the other players to put him in the position to do just that, but I have to wonder why we so effortlessly managed to get the ball to the likes of Watmore and even Embleton over and over again but could never seem to work it to Grigg, who was offside more often than not. Has to show more than he’s given us so far in these pre-season games.

(SUB) Benji Kimpioka - 6/10: Came on and created a bit of havoc for the Belenenses defence, as he often does. Definitely feel that he’s been one of the stand out players from this pre-season so far, even if he is a little erratic at times.

(SUB) Charlie Wyke - 6/10: Replaced the hugely ineffective Grigg and gave us the presence up top that we’d been lacking up until that point in the game. I still worry about our inability to create chances for a lad who is such a big target, but there’s time to put that right.

(SUB) Alim Ozturk - 6/10: Did nothing of note other than to just keep us ticking over at the back in place of Willis. Alim looks a lot sharper and fitter than he did this time last year, and definitely has a role in our squad over the coming season.

(SUB) Max Power - 6/10: Good to see him back out on the pitch considering initially he wasn’t expected to be fit before the season started. Looked keen to make an impression in his first chance to stake a claim for a place in the side.

(SUB) Lynden Gooch - 6/10: Was again asked to fill in at left wing back but didn’t look too shabby. Think playing as a backup defensive winger is his best role going forward, even if he might not see himself as someone outside of the manager’s thinking when it comes to attackers.

(SUB) Chris Maguire - 6/10: Showed some classy touches without really being able to produce a moment of magic to get us back into the game.

(SUB) Ruben Sammut - 6/10: It’s safe to say that this lad is very much thought of as a first teamer and he again didn’t look out of place when he came on, this time to partner Power in the middle.

(SUB) Jack Baldwin - N/A: Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to leave an impression.

(SUB) Jack Diamond - N/A: Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to leave an impression.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Willis

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