Mendy on why he turned down Sunderland
Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy starred for his team in their 2-1 Champions League win over Real Madrid at the Bernabau Stadium in midweek, but at one point he could have been turning out for Sunderland.
In 2013, Sunderland agreed a £5m fee with Le Havre for the then 18-year-old and Mendy travelled to the North East to undergo talks with the club, only for a last minute change of heart from the player, who promptly signed for Marseille.
Talking about his decision in FourFourTwo, Mendy revealed that he did not want to head to England without achieving something in his home country and after visiting the Stade Velodrome a year earlier, decided that Marseille was the club he wanted to play for:
At Le Havre, there was a big divide: some people liked PSG and others liked Marseille, when we watched Le Classique together, you’d have two sides of the room.
But one day, I went to the Stade Velodrome. I saw the feelings, the vibes, the atmosphere and said to myself, ‘This is where I want to play’. I signed a year later.
It’s true that I met Sunderland and we had talks, but in my head I really wanted to do something good in France before I travelled abroad. I didn’t want to leave French football like that, through the small door. I wanted to do something big, and when that was done I could go to England. It’s why I preferred to go to Monaco for another challenge instead of English teams after that.
Carlisle boss thankful
Sunderland beat Carlisle United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday, to give valuable playing time to players outside the Phil Parkinson’s first XI.
A number of experienced players featured in the 5-2 win, with Lee Burge, Joel Lynch, Tommy Smith, Declan John, Ethan Robson, Josh Scowen, Will Grigg, Kyle Lafferty, Duncan Watmore, Benji Kimpioka and Antoine Semenyo all taking part.
Lafferty, Grigg, Kimpioka, Semenyo and Scowen were all on the scoresheet, and speaking about the game yesterday Carlisle boss Chris Beech was thankful to Sunderland for the invite.
Speaking to his club’s official website, Beech wanted to give credit to the Sunderland side for their professionalism:
I’m thankful that they allowed us to go across to play the game. We’ve got a good relationship with the staff, Gav has as well, and so has our youth Department.
The lads played an under-17 game there when Saturday’s youth game got cancelled, so we utilised the opportunity for us to go there this week. They utilised it as well by playing all their substitutes from the previous game.
Sunderland had a lot of good players out and they were very professional. I don’t think they got told until after their game against Fleetwood, Tuesday night at 11pm, that they were playing the next day.
They’ve prepared to be part of that Sunderland team that played Fleetwood at the top of League One. Three of them got on, one of them played about 30 minutes for the first team then he’s at the training ground the next day scoring goals against us.
Great credit and professionalism to them. It’s good to see that from my perspective, to show our players, so they can look at them doing that. The boys we had, it was everybody really that hasn’t been playing and they applied themselves very well.
It was quite a close game for parts of it. I was quite pleased with the energy and efforts of the lads, but of course you always want a little bit more.
Accy boss keen for Sunderland to go up
Accrington Stanley play bottom of the table Bolton Wanderers at the weekend and Stanley boss John Coleman has bemoaned the fate of the struggling Trotters.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Coleman pointed out that he does not like to see big clubs struggling in the lower reaches of the Football League and said he is keen to see Sunderland return to the Premier League as soon as possible:
I’ve said this plenty of times in the past, I don’t like to see big clubs struggling. Everyone was saying when we got promoted to League One ‘it must be great to be going up against Sunderland’.
I want to see Sunderland where they belong, which is top flight or minimum Championship, and the same applies to Bolton.
I’ve been to watch Liverpool play both of those teams as a fan.
It’s the same with Ipswich and Portsmouth, you want the big clubs to thrive. They have big followings and you don’t want them to be in the doldrums.
But when you’ve got to play them you can’t feel sorry for them, you’ve got to try to beat them.