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Roker Roundup: Lamine Kone is a free agent after release & Oxford boss on Maguire availability

There are a bunch of former Sunderland players in the news today - Chris Maguire, Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji, Richie Ryan and Connor Shields to be exact...

Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Robinson unaware of Maguire availability

Sunderland released Chris Maguire earlier in the week, with the playmaker’s spell at the Stadium of Light ending after three years.

The 32-year-old departs with 124 appearances in all competitions for the club, scoring 28 times and providing 26 assists in those games.

With his future up in the air, Oxford United manager Karl Robinson was asked about him possibly returning to a club where he played 79 times in a two year period but Robinson told the Oxford Mail that the Scottish international is not currently on his radar:

I didn’t even know he was available, that’s not one that’s come to me.

We have a number of different options that we’re looking at.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

‘Mental’ - Ryan discusses Sunderland debut

Sunderland academy product Richie Ryan has spent the last 7 years plying his trade in North America with a variety of clubs, and is currently on the books of El Paso Locomotive.

The Irish midfielder joined The Bit O’Red Supporters Trust Podcast this week, to discuss his career so far and revealed what it was like to make his senior debut in the Premier League against Newcastle United.

Ryan was only 18 when he was called into the squad for the derby game in 2003, and said that his first team opportunity came too quickly, but the overall experience was mental:

Probably too quick, I wasn’t ready for it. At the end of the second season was when I got brought into the first team with Mick McCarthy, towards the end of the season I got a chance to play in the derby game against Newcastle.

Mental, mental.

I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, it was all a bit of a blur because it happened so quick. I played a reserve game on a Thursday night, trained with the under-19s on the Friday morning and I was supposed to fly back to Ireland for the FAI awards at the weekend.

Jocky Scott, the reserve team manager, came down and said ‘look, the manager wants to see you on the first team side, you’re involved with the first team tomorrow’.

I was like ‘you’re lying to me Jocky, don’t be taking the mick out of me’.

So he took me down and I was walking through the doors into the first team side of the training ground, Michael Gray, who was club captain at the time, he was walking out and he congratulated me as I was walking in the door. I thought ‘Oh f**k, it’s actually happening’, my heart just started racing.

Then I spoke to Mick and he was like ‘Look, I want you there tomorrow, be there for half one, make sure you dress smart, get yourself a suit’. I didn’t have a suit, I was 18 years of age, I had to run into town and get a suit for the day after.

The thing that probably disappointed me most was that I didn’t even get a chance to get my family over for it, I know they would have loved to have been there.

Then the game itself, I came on in the second half and you can just hear a wave of noise, no idea what the fans are screaming or singing or anything, it’s just ‘what am I doing here?’, that type of thing.

We were 1-nil down, Mick probably thought I could find a pass or something but it wasn’t meant to be. It was obviously a nice gesture from Mick to put me on in such a big game and it showed that he had belief in me, a lot of trust to put me on in the big game.

Ryan also described why he chose to join the club in the first place and said although he had a lot of interest in his signature, the amount of Irish players at the club made Sunderland feel like home:

Sunderland was just the place I felt at home, I suppose.

I had a few bigger clubs [interested], Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham. They were the main ones and then I narrowed it down to Tottenham and Sunderland.

The main reason for me going to Sunderland was there was a bus load of young Irish lads in Sunderland before me, Mark Rossiter being one from Sligo.

Rossy and a few of the older lads, they were a couple of years older than me and I knew I’d fit in as soon as I got over there. They’d all been through what I was about to go through, so I knew I’d have plenty of help in adapting to being away from home.

Big Niall Quinn was there, Jason McAteer, Kevin Kilbane, Tommy Butler, there was a big connection with Irish players and the club was going through a really good time at that stage as well in the Premier League.

The season before I went there they finished 5th or 6th in the Premier League, it didn’t last long but it was a good club to go to. It’s obviously a massive, massive club with a huge fanbase and sad to see where they are now.

To listen to the full interview with Richie Ryan on the BORST podcast, press play on the player below.

Soccer - Friendly - Scunthorpe United v Sunderland Photo by Simon Bellis/EMPICS via Getty Images

Former players in the news

Former Sunderland striker Connor Shields had a successful year with Queen of the South since signing a one-year deal with the club back in August.

The 23-year-old was rewarded for his stellar year with a place in the Scottish Championship team of the year and he has now moved up a level after signing a three-year deal with Premiership outfit Motherwell.

Papy Djilobodji also had a good season, and has extended his stay with Gaziantep for another three years.

The club released a statement celebrating Djilobodji’s new deal by saying:

[He] gained the appreciation of all biased and impartial people with his character, footballing talent and sympathetic personality during his playing in our club.

Possibly a case of mistaken identity.

Finally, not-so-good news for another former Sunderland defender, as Lamine Kone has been released by Strasbourg.

The Ivory Coast international signed for the French club from Sunderland in 2018, initially on loan, and was a regular for the Ligue 1 side, but the 32-year-old will now be looking for a new opportunity elsewhere.

Sunderland First Team Squad Visit the ‘Caterpillar’ Factory Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images
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