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Talking Points: Diamond & Neil don’t look out of place - will they play in the league soon?

Here are all the key Talking Points following Sunderland’s win last night - Jack Diamond & Dan Neil showed again why they should be playing more for the first team... will we see them play for The Lads in the league soon?

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

Neil & Diamond do not look out of place

Jack Diamond was arguably Sunderland’s man of the match last night. If he wasn’t, he was certainly up there with Hume and Maguire.

He was fantastic when running with the ball, he crossed the ball into the box with regularity, he worked his socks off and, importantly, got himself a very good goal to cap off a great performance.

Dan Neil had a really good game too. He was tidy in possession and moved the ball along quickly, which is something I feel our midfielders don’t do often enough.

I don’t think that either of these players look out of place as first teamers. In fact, in some cases, they offer this team more than some of the other players who get chance after chance from the manager in league action.

I hope tonight gives Phil Parkinson the inspiration to use them both when our League One fixture list resumes later in the month. We’ll be a stronger team with them in it, coming off the bench or even starting games occasionally.

Sunderland v Aston Villa U21: EFL Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Disaster again for Matthews

I don’t particularly enjoy saying this, but the early signs with Remi Matthews aren’t good.

By my estimation he’s now made a mistake leading to a goal in each of the games he’s started in (including pre-season). The first Carlisle goal is completely on him - everyone watching could see what was coming a mile off when he came flying off his line and clattered into the onrushing Carlisle forward.

Then, for the second, his starting position is poor. Yes, Dobson should do better with marking Jon Mellish, but Matthews’ starting position is odd - he’s actually in the back of the net when he attempts to save it!

My worry is that if Lee Burge gets injured, this is the guy we’re placing our hopes in.

Do we now need to seriously think about recruiting another goalkeeper?

Sunderland v Carlisle United: EFL Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

O’Nien did himself justice in defence

Is there any position on the pitch that Luke O’Nien can’t play in?

I thought he did a great job in his first outing at centre half!

He attacked every ball, kept his shape, threw himself in the way of shots and crosses - he did everything you expect your central defenders to do.

The lad deserves credit for the way he adapts to any situation and does exactly what his manager asks of him. It’s been said countless times before, but we’d be a lot better off if every player had the same mentality and drive to succeed as Luke O’Nien.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Maguire’s quality will be crucial

Chris Maguire’s night ended with him picking up two goals and two assists - a reminder perhaps of just how important he is to this team.

He was lucky with his first, but the second was a brilliant finish. His pass for Denver Hume’s goal was brilliant also - I don’t think we have many other players who think on the same level that he does.

Parky has to find a way of fitting Maguire into his team alongside Diamond, Gooch and Graham, for me. I reckon we score loads of goals if that’s our attack, with Chris at the centre of it, pulling the strings.

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