Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Tuesday April 6 2010
With Sunderland outclassing 5th placed Spurs last weekend, we have to be happy with the way things are going in the last few weeks.
We have a very strong spine with Gordon in form between the sticks, Mensah and Turner creating a solid back central defence, Cana and Cattermole in the middle, and Bent up front banging them in for fun.
Where will we need to strengthen is always the most frequent question in the press room and amongst fans but maybe we already have the answers in our current squad.
Recently, David Meyler has been very impressive in replacing the sometimes erratic Lorik Cana in midfield. He ran over 8 miles in the draw against Man City and caused many problems against Palacios in the recent victory over Tottenham. Meyler has been a revelation and if he can continue to play with the same confidence and fitness we may already have the key to the centre of midfield.
On the right wing with over 8 assists this season we have the emerging talent of Jordan Henderson. Local lad Jordan is only 19 and already gained a lot of experience on loan to Coventry and returning a new man.
This season Steve Bruce has trusted the winger and he has started many game on the right hand side and looks a real talent for the future. Sunderland will need to continue their form and rise up the league to keep the top clubs away from him leaving in the Summer.
More importantly, we have two players currently on loan in the Championship making waves with Ipswich and Leicester City.
Roy Keane gave Martyn Waghorn his first team debut against Man Utd at home last season and that shows what talent he is capable of achieving. Since he joined the Foxes on loan he has been improving and developing as a hot striker this season.
Waghorn recently scored two goals for Leicester as they look to secure a play off position. Waghorn, 20, has scored 15 goals in the Championship and has left many Leicester City fans hoping he can stay for another year.
Waghorn will think about his future in the Summer and look to break into our first squad but will face competition with Bent, Jones and possibly another new striker to battle amongst.
Keano has also developed another young prospect in the shape of Jack Colback who is currently playing for Ipswich Town. Keane brought him in on loan and he has started over 30 games for him since his arrival in the Summer.
Roy Keane recently said: "He`s a young, hungry player who does his best home and away. He`s from Newcastle so he has had a tough upbringing and he`s got that hunger. One or two the other night didn`t have that hunger and it came across in their performance. I`m not going to name names, as what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room, but they know who they are."
With these four players Meyler, Henderson, Waghorn and Colback we certainly have a bright future ahead and it will be interesting to see how Bruce handles their ability. It is clear to see that Bruce will allow young prospects to break into the squad and use them to ensure their talent stays in good form. Will he draft Colback and Waghorn in after the World Cup or will he continue to develop them on loan to other clubs?
One thing for sure is that the academy certainly seems to be working and with the U18's currently top of the league we may have more talent on our hands in the next few seasons.
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Date:Tuesday April 6 2010
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