RR: This is a tough one to ask I suppose since he’s such a young and inexperienced player, but your manager really seems to rate Jake Vokins - is that an opinion you and your fellow fans share?
Saints FC Podcast: It is, however the thought that he may be sent off on-loan seems to counter the idea that Ralph is a fan.
JV is the back-up left back to Ryan Bertrand, and as such, hasn’t had a lot of game time. He had an opportunity recently against Arsenal as Ryan Bertrand was out with a suspension, he was subbed off before the end of the match and Ibrahim Diallo (a midfielder) was sent to left-back. This probably suggests that Ralph wasn’t particularly impressed on this occasion, and perhaps he has now decided he needs more game time to get up to the level required.
RR: Vokins comes off a production line that has produced England internationals and Premier League players at left back - do you think he’s set to head down the same path?
Saints FC Podcast: It’s hard to say at this moment in time, he certainly looks the business going forward, he plays with confidence and has a wicked shot on him. He already has his first goal for Saints, which is worth a watch.
RR: What sort of left back is he? We already have Denver Hume, who is very much an attacking player that likes to take people on and deliver crosses into the box. Is Vokins an all-rounder, an attacking player, or more defensive?
Saints FC Podcast: He is very much an attacking full-back. He looks very good going forward, less so in defence. If he can improve this element of his game then he should have all the attributes to be a very successful full-back at a very high level.
RR: What would you say his strengths are as a player?
Saints FC Podcast: His confidence in going forward. He is not afraid to take on players, push forwards or have a shot. Sometimes players coming in from the youth set-up lack this confidence, but not Jake Vokins. We have only had a few games to assess him, but I would expect to see Sunderland fans talking about his energy going forward.
RR: And weaknesses - what areas of his game need work?
Saints FC Podcast: Positioning and defending. If he is able to develop his positional sense to make sure that he doesn’t get passed to easily (as was the case against Arsenal) then he could be the complete package, he’s not there yet though.
RR: Are you disappointed to see him go? It appears he was on the fringes of the first team - is a loan at this stage of his career right, or would you have preferred him to stay and challenge Ryan Bertrand?
Saints FC Podcast: Yes! In fact, I still don’t believe that he’s going! I thought he would be involved throughout the season as Bertrand’s understudy. Bertrand is a seasoned pro and has been a top-level full back for a long time, when he’s missing we notice it, I would have liked Vokins to have stayed around to learn from one of the best.
RR: Do you think he’s capable of playing to a good standard in League One?
Saints FC Podcast: 100% - I think he will become a good standard PL full-back in time.
RR: Overall, what would you say to Sunderland supporters who maybe aren’t sure about this particular signing?
Saints FC Podcast: Watch him, enjoy the speed and the confidence in which he attacks, and I am sure if you play him against Portsmouth he will score an absolute screamer of a goal, which will be enjoyed here in Southampton as much as it will be by you in Sunderland!