It was an interesting first season for Dylan McGeouch on Wearside. The Scotland midfielder was one of Jack Ross’ first signings as Sunderland manager and he arrived under the pretence that he was someone who could add a touch of class to our midfield. However, he ended up playing in less than half of our League One fixtures last season.
On plenty of occasions he’s showed his ability on the ball, but when the season ended it’s fair to say he was top of many of our lists for players that could potentially leave Sunderland.
There are a decent amount of fans who feel that we don’t need McGeouch in our side as he contributed so little last season. Yet, I feel the Scotsman sticking around is ultimately a positive all round for us as, with a more pivotal role in the side, he’s surely destined to deliver so much more.
McGeouch and Cattermole were far from similar players, yet the departure of Catts has freed up space in the midfield. If the reshuffle which we have seen in pre-season is carried into the new campaign, then McGeouch should be in with a good chance of being able to lock down a position.
Jack Ross has trialed a new system in pre-season which primarily utilises two central midfield players sitting deeper than the defensive wing backs, a position that I feel would get the best from McGeouch should he manage to stay fit for a prolonged period of time.
He’s had a topsy-turvy time at the club so far, but he could have just thrown in the towel. He had plenty of chances to leave Sunderland over the summer, with the most likely destination being across the border at Aberdeen. Despite this, he opted to stay and fight for his place.
It feels as though the criticism of McGeouch has been harsh, and that in truth we just haven’t seen enough of him. The likes of George Honeyman and Max Power were given better runs in the side than the former Hibernian man - yet personally I feel that he was more consistent than Power, but was perhaps more often overlooked.
My opinion of McGeouch is relatively high considering he wasn’t viewed as a first choice player in his position last season. The season ahead is a big one for him, he needs to make a break into the first eleven to lock down a place.
Interestingly it would seem that whilst he definitely has a place in Ross’ squad this season, one bad game or injury would see him right outside of the manager’s plans again. The abundance of midfield players haven’t changed much since last season and with a big season ahead for the likes of Embleton, Robson and potentially George Dobson, Dylan McGeouch could be in for a rough ride if he has some bad luck.