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Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-1 Heerenveen - Here’s how the Lads rated tonight @ the SOL

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Sunderland failed to score for the third pre-season game running, as they lost out 0-1 to Dutch side Heerenveen at the Stadium of Light. Here’s how Graham Falk rated the Lads in red and white.

Sunderland v Heerenveen Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jon McLaughlin - 6/10

Didn’t have a save of note to make first half and couldn’t do much about the wonder strike for the opener. His kicking seems to have improved a little too. Typical McLaughlin performance really - steady and dependable.

Conor McLaughlin - 7/10

I think we’ve unearthed a gem in this lad. Supported Gooch very well on the right hand side. Took the right option every single time and the Heerenveen’s player got zero joy out of him defensively. Didn’t look flustered once and looks a huge step up from last year.

Jordan Willis - 6/10

Needs to stop the Hollywood balls, because they are seemingly not his strength, but you can see the former Coventry City player is everything we’ve been crying out for at the back. Strong, aggressive, bags of pace. Basically everything our central defence wasn’t last season.

Tom Flanagan - 5/10

Didn’t have a great deal to contend with, but it worries me that he still seems to make hard work of almost everything he does. Few aimless long balls at the beginning of the match went absolutely nowhere, whilst he also put it out of play under no pressure more than once.

Denver Hume - 5/10

I’m not sure what it was with Denver tonight, but he seemed to run intro trouble and give the ball away at every opportunity. He was also beaten down the left hand side far too easily once or twice. Doesn’t look as assured as Bryan Oviedo, or even Reece James for that matter, did last season.

Noticed this type of performance from Hume a few times this pre-season and I think our left-hand side is a worry since he’s our only option.

Sunderland v Heerenveen Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Lynden Gooch - 6/10

A few good cut ins and provided one excellent cross in the first half that Kimpioka should have done better with.

Linked up with McLaughlin well and seems to have a bit of his swagger back, just needs to release it earlier a little more often.

Grant Leadbitter - 6/10

A few aimless long balls, but kept it simple and fed Elliott Embleton well in the number ten role. Almost scored a beauty from outside the box just after the break, but all in all, I’m not sure him and McGeouch can play together.

Dylan McGeouch - 7/10

Made everything look simple and I hope he plays more next season. He was strong in the tackle, intercepted well and kept the ball well, keeping the team kicking on all night. A cracking little player that will hopefully be given his opportunity by Ross this term.

Benji Kimpioka - 5/10

If you look in the dictionary under word ‘raw’ you’ll find this man’s name.

Looks like he’s bulked up over the summer and definitely has more spark about him, but the pro, and indeed the con, of Kimpioka is that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next.

Tonight wasn’t a game for Benji as he ran into dead ends continuously, but there’s definitely a talent in there somewhere.

Elliot Embleton - 6/10

Another who’s been mightily impressive this pre-season is the local lad, and he has surely played his way into the starting eleven for next weekend. Neat on the ball, always looks to play on the front foot, tireless in his pressing and great movement. Not much came off for him tonight unfortunately, but he never hid at any point. Unlucky when his free-kick hit the post late on.

Will Grigg - 4/10

I’m not what is wrong with Will, but he just doesn’t look like scoring at all and he’s not bringing enough to the team when he’s not. Weak in his hold-up play and spent most of the time outside of the box.

The one chance he did have he put into the side netting, when he perhaps should have hit the target at the very least.

(SUB) Mark McNulty (on 55) - 6/10

Sparked into life when he came on and very nearly created a goal. Looks fast and hard working and eager to impress. Went quiet after we conceded, but early signs say he looks handy.

(SUB) Luke O’Nien (on 67) - 6/10

Quiet night for Luke. Didn’t do anything wrong.

(SUB) George Dobson (on 76) - 6/10

Hard to judge in a fifteen minute appearance, but he sprayed some nice passes and played his part in Sunderland’s best move of the game in his first minute on the pitch.

(SUB) Max Power (on 83) - X/10

Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to leave an impression.

(SUB) Alim Ozturk (on 87) - X/10

Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to leave an impression.

Man Of The Match: Conor McLaughlin