May 26, 2024

Tony Mowbray losing no sleep over his Sunderland contract as he prepares to  enter final year - Chronicle Live

Sunderland’s triple transfer boost against Real Mallorca as Patrick Roberts answers attitude accusations

Sunderland drew 1-1 with Real Mallorca in pre-season on Saturday – and there was a lot to takeaway from the game:

Sunderland played out a 1-1 draw against La Liga side Real Mallorca at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

The Black Cats took the lead in the opening stages through Hemir before being pegged back in the second half.

There was plenty of interesting injury news to come out of the game against Real Mallorca with new signing Jenson Seelt still not fit enough to take part in games.

Does new Sunderland deal for Dennis Cirkin change Tottenham buy-back  clause? - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

There was also a worry over Dennis Cirkin during the game as he suffered a clash of heads with an opponent in the first half. However, the defender turned out to be fine after treatment.

Indeed, it was a huge and slightly unexpected boost for Tony Mowbray that the left-back was fit enough to start the game with some expecting Lynden Gooch to start in that position. The return of Cirkin is a timely bonus ahead of Ipswich next Sunday.

It was also good to see Luke O’Nien, who started at centre-back, and second-half substitute Niall Huggins return after missing last week’s pre-season open training session at the Stadium of Light. Suddenly, Mowbray has a few options.

It was, however, bad news regarding new striker Eliezer Mayender, with Mowbray confirming the Spaniard had suffered an injury set-back during his very first training session… only at Sunderland!

CONFIRMED: Shrewd business by Jack Ross as Sunderland sign hard-working  midfielder Luke O'Nien - Roker Report

Several Sunderland players have been linked with moves elsewhere during the summer transfer window.

Jack Clarke has been the subject of four rejected bids from Burnley and once again played well, as he has done all pre-season, as does not look like a player whose head is elsewhere.

Dan Ballard was also loosely linked with West Ham at the beginning of the window but started for Mowbray alongside O’Nien at centre-back and played well.

Isaac Lihadji’s name has been mentioned with a move to the Middle East but the attacker came in the second half and played well.

The trio’s inclusion in Sunderland’s squad and the minutes they received against Real Mallorca strongly hints that there is nothing close regarding potential transfer exits.

You’d imagine all three players will be in contention to play against Ipswich Town in the Championship opener next week.

Sunderland stats: Cutting through the frustration to examine Jack Clarke's  productivity - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

The biggest roar of the afternoon up until that point came when Chris Rigg was brought on in the second half with Sunderland fans relishing the chance to see the 16-year-old wonderkid in action.

Rigg didn’t disappoint either, dancing his through four Mallorca players to win a free-kick in a good area. It was a moment of real quality and the youngster is pushing to start in the Championship and has arguably been Sunderland’s most exciting player during pre-season.

THAT Maffeo red card and crazy brawl

The roar from the Stadium of Light crowd for Rigg’s arrival was quickly eclipsed when Real Mallorca player Maffeo hacked Luke O’Nien down from behind in the second half.

It was a horror challenge and it sparked a melee with Sunderland players rushing to the aid of their teammate with O’Nien incensed at the challenge, which was well deserving of the red card shown by the referee.

Mowbray commented after the game that he was pleased that his young squad were all willing to fight for each other.

If you get a chance, though, watch the replay and take a look at the little head pat from O’Nien on Maffeo after the initial coming together… that man certainly knows how to wind opposition players up!

Patrick Roberts answers worrying attitude reports

Patrick Roberts is still waiting on a new contract offer from Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman. However, this is not unusual given the club are in the middle of the transfer window with chiefs likely prioritising incomings before turning to Roberts’ deal in due course.

The attacking midfielder has one year on his deal but is a player that Sunderland and head coach Tony Mowbray will be keen to retain given the 27-year-old’s attacking qualities. Reports earlier this week questioned Roberts’ attitude in training.

However, accusations of the player’s head dropping and training levels suffering were strenuously denied by sources to The Echo. Indeed, those initial reports do look to be wide of the park given that Mowbray once again started Roberts against Real Mallorca, with the former Celtic man providing the assist for Hemir’s opener.

Moreover, Roberts looked to work extremely hard up and down Sunderland’s right flank during the pre-season clash and was his usual impressive self. In short, he did not look like a player whose attitude had dropped off in training.

Jobe Bellingham playing in the number 10 role

Jobe Bellingham - Wikipedia

Summer arrival Jobe Bellingham played in the number 10 role behind strike Hemir against Real Mallorca, and with Amad no longer at Sunderland and unlikely to return, it is a position that needs someone of quality to make it their own.

The Black Cats do have options there with Alex Pritchard and Abdoullah Ba alongside new signing Bradley Dack and Elliot Embleton, when he returns from injury, able to play there.

Bellingham, however, did his central attacking midfield credentials no harm with an encouraging display. The former Birmingham City man possesses real quality and created a few opportunities for himself simply by being a willing and dynamic runner.

It will be interesting to see how the number 10 question develops and where Bellingham fits in at Sunderland as time advances.

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