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PLAYER RATINGS: Sunderland 1-1 Oxford - Here’s how the Lads rate after underwhelming opener

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Sunderland could only manage a draw today against Oxford at the Stadium of Light in what was an underwhelming start to the season. Here’s how our man watching the match rated the Lads in red and white this afternoon.

Sunderland v Heerenveen Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Iam Burn/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jon McLaughlin - 4/10

Poor performance. Sold himself easily for the opener, made more basic errors and was bailed out by the referee after getting pinned on his line for a soft disallowed goal.

Conor McLaughlin - 6/10

At fault for Oxford’s opener, played fairly well outside of that costly error.

Jordan Willis - 5/10

Atrocious in the second half, probably Oxford’s best player. Shame as Willis had looked reasonably assured in the first half.

Tom Flanagan - 5/10

Looked sharp early on, but Oxford’s goal seemed to bring out all his worst traits. We saw the return of the baffling defensive decision-making and ridiculous overly ambitious passes we came to loathe last season.

Lynden Gooch - 6/10

Nerveless to bring Sunderland level from the spot, outside of his devastating penalty and crafty run to draw the foul, Gooch was quiet looking unsure of himself as an out and out wing back.

George Dobson - 5/10

It took Dobson three tries but finally one of his dumb, blind hospital back-passes resulted in an Oxford goal. Tried too hard to impress and made several basic errors.

Dylan McGeouch - 8/10

Sunderland’s most consistently effective footballer by a distance. Snuffed out counter attacks with ease and played smart progressive passes consistently.

Denver Hume - 5/10

Hume wasn’t a total disaster. Maybe one of his ten-plus crosses was actually good and he did play a few smart slide rule passes to Embleton. But for the most part this was a horror show from the youngster. I can’t imagine there was a worse display of decision-making across the EFL today.

Elliot Embleton - 5/10

Too lightweight and nowhere near effective enough as Sunderland’s main creator.

Will Grigg - 5/10

Like Flanagan, Grigg started well, but then started displaying all his worst traits after facing adversity. The Northern Ireland international just didn’t compete with anywhere near enough intensity or aggression.

Marc McNulty - 7/10

Looked sharp on the few occasions Sunderland were able to progress the ball to him, had the team’s only reasonable effort in a toothless first half, looks more at ease dropping into midfield and linking play than our other options up front.

(SUB) Duncan Watmore - 6/10

Would have been Sunderland’s best player if he’d brought his first touch onto the pitch with him. Even without it, he made his presence felt winning free kicks and creating dangerous situations.

(SUB) Aiden McGeady - 6/10

Wasn’t able to take over the game as you’d hope, did play one incisive through ball in limited minutes.

(SUB) Chris Maguire - 6/10

Was a real nuisance to the Oxford defence in a late cameo role.

Man of the Match: Dylan McGeouch