Every time we make an appointment to the coaching setup nowadays, it seems well thought out, and that is something we haven’t become accustomed to during the last six or seven years.
Since Kristjaan Speakman took over as Sporting Director there have been a raft of changes, and I think it’s hugely encouraging that we’ve decided to interview thoroughly for the position. This isn’t like the old days when Phil Parkinson brought his tried and trusted best mate in. This is the club looking as far and as wide as they can for the best possible man for the job, and that bodes well.
Longtime readers and listeners to Roker Report and the Roker Rapport Podcast might remember that for many years I banged the drum for the idea of the club putting in place a proper footballing structure, so being able to bring in someone like Barcherini is not only a relief, but also hugely reassuring that we’re heading in the right direction and constantly striving to improve.
Perhaps most importantly, he worked at Leeds United at an important time, playing a massive part in developing one of the top young goalkeepers in Europe today in Illan Meslier.
Meslier burst onto the scene at Elland Road at the start of 2020 and hasn’t really looked back since. Even now, aged just twenty two, he’s getting better and better whilst holding down his spot as the number one choice at a Premier League club.
Anthony Patterson isn’t much younger than Meslier, and Alex Bass isn’t much older. The fact that they now get to work with such an experienced coach who has played a massive part in the development of another top young goalkeeper must be hugely encouraging.
We can all see how good Patterson is, and the rate at which he improved during the latter part of last season suggests to me that if we get his development right, we could be sitting on another future Premier League goalkeeper.
That is where making the right appointments at all levels of the club is key, and why it’s more ambitious to be a football club that doesn’t just hire the mates of the manager, but looks to bring in the best people we can to do the job, from the chefs in the canteen at the Academy, to a striker for the U21s team, or a goalkeeping coach who has been tasked with turning a good young player into a very good young player.
Time will tell if getting rid of David Preece in favour of this guy was the right move, but it can’t be denied that his CV is impressive.
Andrew Smithson says...
I can’t say I know too much about Barcherini beyond what I’ve read since he arrived, but he looks to have a very good CV.
It appears that he has gained vital experience at both Nottingham Forest and Stoke City, both of whom have been in a higher division than us over the last few years, and apparently he even had a spell as an assistant manager at Notts County.
This all bodes well, but it is his time at Leeds United that really stands out.
They’ve had a bit of success of late and under Marcelo Bielsa, they were said to be very innovative behind the scenes. Barcherini is still relatively young, so hopefully he is well-versed on the current ways of thinking, and can bring some fresh ideas to Sunderland.
Assuming we’ve put the same effort into researching this appointment as we have with our recent player purchases, this looks very promising, and the fact that he will work alongside Mark Prudhoe is encouraging, too. Prudhoe is said to be doing a very good job, just like David Preece, by all accounts, so there will be a bit of continuity there.
Both Anthony Patterson and Alex Bass are at a stage where they can still learn.
There might be room for an experienced stopper to come in and help them along, but either way, it is a crucial position. We all know what can happen when there are problems between the sticks, so the club has to make sure they get the entire unit right.
It is pleasing, therefore, to see Sunderland moving in this direction, and I wish Alessandro all the best on Wearside. It appears that he was well-liked in the dressing room at Leeds, so with any luck he’ll settle quickly.
Phil West says...
On the face of it, this sounds like another extremely promising appointment.
It was announced somewhat unexpectedly on Wednesday (in keeping with many of the club’s latest developments these days) and it hints, once again, at a thorough recruitment process and some solid groundwork being laid before these crucial additions to the coaching team are confirmed. Much of the work to improve the footballing infrastructure at the club may be unseen, but it is absolutely vital nonetheless.
Barcherini is quite young for a top-level coach at just thirty six, but he comes with some impressive pedigree, having served as part of Marcelo Bielsa’s highly-praised team at Leeds United, and having that experience at a Premier League side could be invaluable to us. He will doubtless be relishing the opportunity to work alongside Alex Neil, and that can only be a positive.
In terms of the effect his arrival could have on Anthony Patterson and Alex Bass, I believe it could be extremely significant.
With the popular David Preece no longer at the club, our young goalkeepers need a steady guiding hand that they can rely on, as they continue to develop, and there is no reason that the Italian cannot be that man. If he can impart the knowledge he has gained throughout his career so far, and they are willing to listen and to learn, this could be a winning combination.
As Barcherini mentioned when he was announced, Sunderland has always had a strong tradition of developing young goalkeepers, and I am very confident that we will continue to so do under his guidance.