Lens in focus: How did new boy fare on his Sunderland debut?

Sunderland's Jeremain Lens at Doncaster
Sunderland's Jeremain Lens at Doncaster
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Within a minute of his debut, Jeremain Lens had the Sunderland supporters on their feet.

His first touch was a clever little backheel near the half-way line at the Keepmoat Stadium – with 2,500 away fans watching on, eager to get their first glimpse of the club’s £8million summer signing.

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger takes on Jeremain Lens and Adam Johnson

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger takes on Jeremain Lens and Adam Johnson

And he didn’t disappoint.

Sunderland haven’t shelled out that level of investment for clever little tricks near the halfway line, of course.

The former Dynamo Kiev forward, comfortable playing on either wing or in a central role, was signed to add pace, creativity and goals to a Sunderland side badly lacking all three.

And if first impressions are anything to go by, then Dick Advocaat may have captured one of the signings of the summer.

Lens was the highlight, showing real pace, energy and drive as he pushed the Doncaster defenders back on both flanks, getting in behind on several occasions.

He has a trick in his locker too and showed good strength, at times, to reclaim possession on the few occasions the Donny defence got close to him.

Probing and penetrating, Lens switched flanks midway through the first half, with Adam Johnson moving to the right.

And the Dutch international looked more dangerous down the left, his more natural position.

Twice he cut inside to good affect, on one occasion he almost levelled the scores with a low fizzing effort that was deflected past the post.

But while the 27-year-old Dutch international impressed on his Sunderland debut, it was the same old defensive frailties at the back that cost them again.

Cedric Evina was unmarked at the back post as he gave Doncaster the lead, with Jack Rodwell at fault for the second goal in the 2-0 defeat.

At least Lens will know what he is up against over the coming 10 months at Sunderland.

The versatile forward started the second half in the same manner as he ended the first, pressing the Doncaster defence back down the left-hand side.

Quick feet and tidy in possession, he also linked up well with Patrick Van Aanholt in an attacking formation.

And Lens – already a fans’ favourite – almost scored a stunning goal midway through the second half.

Cutting inside, he burst past two defenders before unleashing a fine effort from 25-yards plus. Donny stopper – and man of the match – Thorsten Stuckmann equal to it.

The result may have been embarrassing but Lens’ performance certainly wasn’t.

Couple of points worth noting though: his crossing could be improved – mind he produced so many he was bound to misplace a few – and he gave away a few free-kicks.

But Sunderland won’t mind that one bit if he produces the goods when it comes to carving out opportunities for others and taking them himself.

The flying Dutchman’s eagerness for hard graft didn’t go amiss either during his debut, which lasted 83 minutes, with Lens not shirking from his defensive duties.

It’s early days, but on this evidence Sunderland looked to have bagged themselves a top player and one who could light up the Premier League.