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Harrogate v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly

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Sunderland were impressive at Harrogate - was there anything in particular that caught your eye?

It was a cracking performance, but was there anything in particular that caught your eye in Saturday’s 4-0 pre-season win for Sunderland at Harrogate Town?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Neil Graney says...

Jack Diamond

His cameo at York, coupled with his performance against Harrogate demonstrated maturity we’ve not seen consistently. He’s our quickest offensive player, at times, too quick for his own good. What I’ve seen in pre-season is better decision-making and ball retention - this should transform into more goal involvements. There’s a definite improvement, based on the past week, and hopefully it continues.

Eagerness of move the ball forward, quicker

Whether it was Doyle marauding forwards or O’Nien and Evans working little triangles, it was notable that more passes were going forwards. Our offensive play has been stagnated by Power, Leadbitter and so on in previous seasons by taking easy sidewards options. The key to this forward play is Stewart’s mobility and general movement - creating space for others, or generally holding up play for midfielders to join in in the final third; evidenced by a couple of goals today.

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

Malc Dugdale says...

The importance of Embleton

His general play was very solid, and his attacking intent was a class above anything on the pitch. His first goal was a demonstration of what our team has been missing for the last few seasons - midfielders driving forward and taking people on. Yes, one was a deflection, and the 4-0 was against so-called inferior opponents, but he has shown the gaffer already why we must not sell, and we must build a team around him, and players like him. Pritchard needs to worry, as he will struggle to get in the team if Embo keeps it up.

Evans is a strong replacement for what we released

As his fitness increases, you can see why Lee Johnson brought Corry Evans in. He has all the calmness and control of Leadbitter, with the fitness and a touch of pace our former club captain has lost through advancing age. He got forward a couple of times today, and is showing signs we can have the spine of a team with him and Embo up the middle.

Doyle surely has a fake birth certificate?!

This lad cannot be just shy of 18!

His confidence on the ball, marauding attacking drives and defensive strength, against blokes who have way more experience and bulk, are scary for a teenager. He has already done enough to claim one of the starting centre back shirts for me, and I very much hope we inserted a buying clause. This lad could go all the way to the prem and beyond, with or without us. He makes Dion feel like a distant disappointing memory. If he can play in League One like he has so far, we have a star in the making.

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

Ant Waterson says...

Surely we must look on this as a great result, pre season or not.

Harrogate are no mugs and we totally controlled them yesterday.

Elliot Embleton is an absolute must to start the Wigan game. He has shown a great eye for goal and can burst forward at a moments notice. He really deserved those goals today.

What more can be said about Connor Doyle? The lad oozes class and will surely be a regular when the season starts. Another tremendous performance from him.

I liked seeing Luke O’Nien captain the side and play in midfield - he looked assured and kept the play moving. Mostly though what I liked were the first and third goals especially. The first saw a lovely run and shot from midfield, and the third came as a result of a nice defence-splitting pass, and bodies getting forward to get on the end of them.

It’s obvious Johnson is putting his stamp on the squad now, and the results have been very pleasing so far. Keep it up, lads.

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