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Roker Roundup: Jan Kirchhoff calls Sunderland stint “the greatest experience I had in football”

Cult hero former Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has said that his time as a player in England was “the greatest experience” that he had in football.

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Kirchhoff on his great experience

Former Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has told Goal.com that the greatest experience of his football career was during his spell at Sunderland.

The German currently turns out for KFC Uerdingen in the third division of his homeland, but the 29-year-old says expectations in Germany are too high and that they look for the negative in everything.

Playing in England is far more relaxing according to Kirchhoff, and he says that he thoroughly enjoyed his Sunderland experience, before the injuries returned:

England was the greatest experience I had in football, it was really nice to come to another country, perfect the language and get new cultural input. I really enjoyed it.

I also have to say that the sometimes high expectations in Germany or the search for the famous hair in the soup weighed on me a bit.

The English are more relaxed, cheerful and respect the athlete much more. I enjoyed the first half year at Sunderland AFC very much, after that the injuries came back.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Youngsters star

Two Sunderland youngsters scored for their loan clubs at the weekend, with Jack Diamond and Lee Connelly finding the mark for Harrogate Town and Alloa Athletic respectively.

Connelly made his first start for Alloa and marked the occasion with a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The 20-year-old forward opened the scoring with a deflected effort and set up Alan Trouten for the second with an excellent free kick to the back post.

After the game, Alloa manager Peter Grant told the Alloa Advertiser that he was delighted for Connelly, who has had to be patience and wait for his chance to shine, but has had an unbelievable work ethic while he waited for the opportunity:

I am delighted for young Lee because since he came in the door he has been magnificent. His work ethic has been unbelievable and he’s been unfortunate.

Every time he has got on the pitch, he excites me. It’s fantastic to see young boys with a great enthusiasm for the game.

A lot of young kids get knocked nowadays if they are not enjoying the game. But, these kids go about their business like it’s their first day at school.

That’s down to the dressing room and the senior players I have because I know they will teach them the right things.

You can watch the highlights of Connelly’s star turn by press play on the YouTube video below.

Harrogate Town drew 1-1 with Bromley, in a game which was shown live on BT Sport.

Diamond was named man of the match for his display, which included scoring the home side’s goal early in the second half, when he arrived late in the box to slot home past the visiting goalkeeper.

Unfortunately for promotion chasing Town, Bromley scored late on through an own goal by Alex Bradley.

You can watch Diamond’s MoTM display in the YouTube video below.

Bali Mumba made his South Shields debut, just days after signing on-loan. Mumba came on as a second half substitute and drew praise from his manager for his all action display. Fellow Sunderland youngster Jordan Hunter started for Shields, as they won 2-1 away at Bamber Bridge.

Finally, Sunderland midfielder Jake Hackett started his second game since re-joining Whitby Town on-loan but his side lost 2-1 at Stafford Rangers with Hackett withdrawn on the hour mark.