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Talking Points: Lynch & Burge Sunderland’s best players yesterday - will they start on Saturday?

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With Jack Ross hailing the importance of clean sheets, would it not be hypocritical of him to drop Burge and Lynch after last night’s first shut out of the season?

Sheffield United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Is it time for Lee Burge to come in?

It may have been unthinkable at the start of the season, but another good performance from Lee Burge means that perhaps it’s time to bring the former Coventry City ‘keeper into the first eleven on a more regular basis.

Of course, you can’t write off Jon McLaughlin, but bringing in Burge following his excellent performance last night brings competition to the position, which could bring out the best in both goalkeepers.

McLaughlin hasn’t been at his best for a number of weeks now, and with Jack Ross hailing the importance of clean sheets, would it not be hypocritical of him to drop Burge after last night’s first shut out of the season?

His distribution was tremendous, he commanded his area well and pulled off some really important saves. If he doesn’t get his chance now, surely he’ll have to wonder if he ever will.

Sheffield United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

No De Bocky Horror show from debutants!

It’s fair to say that the signings of Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock didn’t warm the cockles too much, and the resulting horror stories from fans of QPR and Leeds meant we had even more cause for concern that we may have signed a pair of duds.

Talk about eating your words! Both players had tremendous debuts at Bramall Lane last night - particularly centre back Joel Lynch, who was arguably the best player on the pitch.

Lynch was a huge presence, and £9 million Premier League marksman Lys Mousset didn’t get a sniff out of him.

Meanwhile Belgian left back De Bock had an impressive debut, too. He supported firstly Elliot Embleton, then latterly Denver Hume superbly on the left hand side.

Both players performed with a composure we haven’t seen in defence for some time and, if they keep up the form they showed last night, Jack Ross may start seeing more of those clean sheets he desires.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Bramall Lane Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images

O’Nien IS a midfielder

Luke O’Nien is a number ten.

If his performances in an advanced midfield position against Burnley and Rotherham weren’t evidence enough, last night's showing certainly was.

It’s no surprise that the Lads have toppled two Premier League sides with Luke in the ten role. He brings an energy that seems to invigorate the team and leads from the front. His desire to get involved in the box seems to cause havoc for opposition defences.

He's far from a poor full back, but he offers much more to our team further up the pitch.

Sheffield United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Does the win buy Ross time?

Calls for Jack Ross to be sacked have grown in the recent weeks, and came to a head in last weekend’s dire 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers.

Despite a feeling of inevitability that he’d be relieved of his duties before last night’s game, Ross has remained in charge of the club and must come out of last night’s victory with a lot of credit.

The team performed like men possessed, chasing and harrying Chris Wilder’s side everywhere, dominating all over the pitch. We remained calm in defence, energetic in midfield, intelligent in our distribution, whilst showing an abundance of composure all over the park - all of which Jack Ross deserves credit for.

It’s only one game in isolation, but last night’s game was the first time this season it appeared Sunderland had a plan, and that may just buy the manager some grace.

Sheffield United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images