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Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: How can Dan Neil use his red card to become a better all-round player?

The young midfielder was sent off against Sheffield United on Wednesday, and we asked our panel for their thoughts on how he can bounce back from a disappointing night in Yorkshire

Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Bomber says...

I am not sure that it was ‘rash’ from Neil. I wholly disagree that it was down to a lack of maturity, and I don’t think his boss needs to get hold of him about it, either.

It was a poor attempt at controlling the ball, and it resulted in him losing possession in a dangerous area. It is natural instinct to make up for that mistake to save embarrassment, and the decision was almost a subconscious one. After all, we have seen experienced, world-class, international defenders do the exact same thing.

Yes, it cost him and us dearly, but let’s not make it into something it is not.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Mark Carrick says...

Dan Neil epitomises what Sunderland are all about right now.

A young player, finding a platform for his undoubted quality. A work in progress who will only learn if he’s allowed to make mistakes. Someone for whom the future is frighteningly bright, and a footballer who Sunderland need to reach his potential, in order for the club to realise their own ambitions.

In Alex Neil, Sunderland have the coach and man manager to help his namesake reach that potential. We have seen how he has coached Dan to thrive in all aspects of midfield, not just the attacking side.

Yes, mistakes will happen as the lad learns, and he is learning in the cauldron of a quality league, filled with Premier League experience and veteran footballers. He will learn, and will learn fast.

No one will be more disappointed at the red card than the player himself, and the same could be said of David Beckham’s dismissal vs Argentina.

Beckham had good managers around him, just as the young team at Sunderland have in Alex Neil. Beckham was a young lad who did fulfill his potential, and we can hope that the same reward awaits our Dan!

Sunderland v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Kevin Barker says...

The only way for Neil to learn and to improve is by playing consistently at this level.

These days, it seems that fans go mad when a player makes a rash challenge and receives a red card. The rules are there for a reason and are part of the game, and it’s not a crime to get sent off.

I am sure that if he is making the same mistakes late in the season or early next season, Alex Neil will make a call on his future, but I have faith in his all-round ability and I believe that he should be given time to hone that side of his game.

He will improve his decision-making and become a key figure for us, so let’s give him and the other young lads a chance to adapt to this league.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Bramall Lane Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

Sam Blakey says...

I’m absolutely confident that he will bounce back.

He is exactly the midfielder that we have been missing for years- a forward-thinking young lad with an eye for a great pass, and he’s one of our own, as well. Unfortunately, young players will make mistakes, and in time, he will learn from that mistake and I am certain that he will play the ball straight back to the goalkeeper in the future.

The nature of the mistake shows exactly what Neil is about: getting on the ball and making things happen. Unfortunately he did it in the wrong area of the pitch, and like I said, he will learn.

Alex Neil’s comments after the game were telling, praising his namesake for how he had played up until the red card.

He will be vital for us moving forward, and I trust that the gaffer and his backroom staff will manage him correctly and make him a better player by doing so.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Bramall Lane Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

Sam Quigley says...

There are two sides to this one.

Bomber is spot on: Neil took a terrible first touch and panic set in. When he reacted to try and fix the problem, he ended up bringing down James McAtee in order to stop the goal.

On the other side, if McAtee had broken the defensive line, was one on one with Patterson and Neil had legged it back before taking the man and receiving a red card for his efforts, we might have said that it was a smart tactical foul.

I’d rather he made his mistakes five games into the season, rather than at the business end of the campaign.

He’s playing in one of the most unpredictable and competitive leagues in the world at twenty years old, and as long as the boss has him under his wing, he’ll be just fine.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Let’s keep this simple.

Ten minutes into the game, Alex Pritchard made the same mistake, with poor control in a dangerous area of the pitch. The difference is that he has the experience and maturity to not pull the attacker down, and in that instance, the Sheffield United player advanced on goal and blazed the ball high and wide.

This may well have been the outcome for Neil, but in that split second, he made the decision to hold James McAtee back. He is a young lad playing against a side who many feel will do very well this season, and he will learn.

The hope is that these little knocks and experiences can help him to grow into the Premier League and potentially international class player that I really think he can be.

He will be missed at Stoke, but he will bounce back and contribute to our success this season.

Alex Neil will know all this, and will be coaching him on how to ignore the critics on social media, and advising him on how to learn from that decision.

He could not be in better hands, and very soon this will be viewed as another step forward and a chance for him to develop, rather than a bad away-day memory very early in the season.

Keep the faith, son.

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