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Roker Roundup: Ex-Sunderland keeper on how he found out on Twitter he was being released

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Max Stryjek has revealed that he only found out he would be leaving the club when he saw the news on Twitter.

Roker Roundup 20/21
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Stryjek reveals how he learned of his Sunderland departure

Sunderland academy product Max Stryjek is currently on the books of Scottish Premiership side Livingston where he is competing with Rangers loanee Ross McCrorie for the number one shirt.

The Polish goalkeeper was interviewed by Angielskie Espresso where he discussed how his move to Scotland came about, why he ended up at Eastleigh after his Sunderland departure and talked about his career at the Stadium of Light.

Regarding his Sunderland departure, Stryjek revealed that he was in discussions over a new contract but learned on Twitter that he would not be getting a contract extension and would be leaving the club:

The situation was that I was expecting an offer from Sunderland. I wanted to stay for another year.

We were in the process of setting the terms and conditions, but during the holidays I learned from Twitter that I am not renewing the contract. There was nothing else to do. I made a deal with Eastleigh and signed a contract with them.

The 24-year-old bemoaned the lack of chances for talented young players at Sunderland and believes he could have been successful if he had been given a chance, pointing to the success of former team-mate Jordan Pickford as an example:

I think that even so far in Sunderland, people who deserve opportunities don’t get them. There are many people who should be in the squad, and they don’t get chosen - I’m talking about young guys.

It is a little different in England than in Poland. If someone is good in Poland, you just give them a chance.

Everything goes there slowly, slowly, on the principle “the young can still wait”. The truth is that a young people can be thrown into deep water earlier and will manage.

They prefer to implement through League One, League Two and so on. It is not for me to judge, but in hindsight, it is clear that in Pickford’s case, it has given good results. He finally went to Everton for about 30 million.

I never really got a chance in Sunderland. It was not a competition on equal terms. I think if I had a similar opportunity, I would have done just as well.

The words won’t change anything now - I would have to go out and show it. It certainly helped him that he is English and his previous loan experience.

While on the books of Sunderland, Stryjek joined Accrington Stanley on loan during the 2017-18 season but was unfortunately injured soon into his debut. The player revealed that he did not even want to join Stanley as he had a loan offer from Polish top flight outfit Wisla Plock:

Yes, I got injured in the 9th minute of my debut. In fact, I didn’t even want to go there, because I had an offer to borrow from Wisła Płock. I wanted to try my hand at Ekstraklasa.

I thought it would help me more than playing in the fourth league. The club, however, disagreed and ended up on loan to Accrington.

9th minute, I got injured and well ... “Pack your bags”.

When asked whether he learned anything from the ill-fated loan spell, Stryjek says the move actually hindered his progress:

Honestly, no. The games I played there might as well have played in Sunderland. This loan did not give me anything. I would even say that it cut my wings.

Stryjek also took time to defend Jack Rodwell, believing he was never deserving of the abuse he received from fans:

There have never been any disputes when it comes to the dressing room and colleagues.

Nobody ever said a bad word about Jack. A very nice man, he always talked.

When it comes to fans, the opinion about him was different. I remember when we were going to Bristol for an under-23 game, Rodwell was playing with us. Fans approached him and began to insult him.

He just asked: “Wouldn’t you sign a contract like that if they gave it to you?” There was no answer. It wasn’t his fault that he got the contract.

Despite not getting the first team opportunity he craved at Sunderland, Stryjek does not regret his move to Sunderland due to how the move developed him as a player:

I think so. I didn’t make my debut, but I gained experience. Hardly anyone has had the opportunity to spend five years in the Premier League and then experience a double relegation.

The stay in Sunderland taught me how to deal with difficult situations and developed me in terms of sports.

He also revealed that he keeps in touch with the academy’s goalkeeper coach Mark Prudhoe, who is still quick to get in touch after games to offer advice:

I am still in touch with the goalkeeping coach Mark Prudhoe who has guided me since I was 16. He has trained a lot of goalkeepers to play in the Premier League and other league levels in England. My current goalkeeping coach, Tony Caig, also started for him.

To this day, he follows my performances, and calls after the matches. Recently, he even asked which hand I defended the shot with - never mind, the main thing is that it did not go in!

It’s something really nice.

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

Sunderland coach on trio destined for the top

With academy product Sam Greenwood joining Leeds United from Arsenal last week, Sunderland academy coach Paul Bryson talked with the Yorkshire Evening Post about what Marcelo Bielsa’s side can expect from the young forward.

During the interview, Bryson pointed out how Greenwood came through the ranks in a good team thanks to playing with fellow highly rated youngsters Bali Mumba and Dan Neil. With the trio pushing each other to greater heights:

He was in a good team.

The team included Bali Mumba, who has now gone on to Norwich, and Dan Neil who is knocking on the door of our first team now.

The thing with those three is that they always encouraged each other.

Training used to be great because they brought the best out of each other. You could see from a young age they were destined to have good careers.

Mumba himself has been speaking about his recent move to Norwich City and explained to the club’s official website that is much easier to focus on his career in Norfolk, away from the distractions in the North East:

Living here is a bit quiet, so it’s very different. Sunderland is a big town and quite open. Here, it’s quite quiet and everyone knows everyone.

It’s good for a young player like me because I can really focus on training, going home and resting, and it puts away all the distractions that you get in a big town like Newcastle or Sunderland.

Sweden v England - 2019 UEFA European Under-17 Championships Group B Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Mannone on his best season

Vito Mannone is currently a free agent after leaving Championship side Reading and the Italian spoke to tuttomercatoweb about his hopes of finally making his Serie A debut.

The former Sunderland goalkeeper says playing in the top flight in his native Italy is his childhood dream but took time to look back on the best season of his career, the 2013-14 season.

The 32-year-old said there was a little Italy in the Sunderland squad that season and revealed that after the League Cup win on penalties away to Manchester United he felt like Dida during Milan’s Champions League victory over Juventus at Old Trafford in 2003 thanks to the 9,000 Sunderland fans behind him:

Yes, Paolo Di Canio was on the bench and besides me there were Giaccherini, Borini and Dossena.

It was an incredible season, my best season.

We saved ourselves in a miraculous way, I saved more penalties with Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final.

I was a Milan fan and I looked like Dida in 2003 at Old Trafford, with nine thousand fans behind me.

After that night there I became a legend, I was named best player of Sunderland 2013/14, and offers came from many clubs.

But I made a heartfelt choice and decided to stay at Sunderland, to continue fighting and suffering with them.

Regarding the offers during that season, Mannone received an offer from Napoli and told how Arsene Wenger called him into his offer to congratulate him on the goalkeeper he had become:

Yes, from Napoli and beyond.

In that season, statistics in hand, I was the best in the Premier League and I was 26 years old. Just think that after the match at the Emirates, Wenger also called me into his office.

To congratulate me on the goalkeeper I had become. It was also a way of apologizing for never giving me a real opportunity at Arsenal.

I will always thank him, he was a great coach for me, he gave me my debut in the Premier League and in the Champions League, however, he had Szczesny and Fabianski in the squad besides me and had to make choices: he chose Szczesny.

Now, Mannone dreams of a Serie A debut:

It would be the crowning glory of my career. It is my dream as a child and even if life took me elsewhere at 32 I still think I can make it happen.

I hope I can play in Italy, I still want to eat the pitch.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - Second Leg - Manchester United v Sunderland - Old Trafford Photo by Mike Egerton - PA Images via Getty Images