The Sunderland player by player verdict as youngsters shine in Livingston win

Gooch lead the line admirably in the first half
Gooch lead the line admirably in the first half
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Another pre-season win for Sunderland, and another outing for 22 players as Simon Grayson rang the changes again.

So who played where and how did they fare?

We take a look...

FIRST XI

Mika

Will have been pleased to get 60 minutes under his belt but was barely tested at all by an insipid Livingston attack. Found Khazri regularly with kicks from hand and the ground.

Billy Jones

A couple of firm challenges and looked far for comfortable defensively on his stronger right side. Tyias Browning is yet to see action but Jones looks the best bet for the right-back berth at the moment.

John O’Shea

Looked far more comfortable than at Easter Road. Livingston went direct and O’Shea was never really troubled. That kind of attack will suit him in the Championship.

Papy Djilobodji

A couple of rash moments but won virtually everything in the air and is enjoying a consistent pre-season so far. If Sunderland can’t sell he is offering hope of a better campaign than last time around.

Brendan Galloway

Will be interesting to see Galloway at centre-back but continued on the left here, and most notable was how he managed to deal with the direct threat from Livingston’s long balls. Looks a canny addition in the early stages of the season.

Darron Gibson

Highlight of the game was a superb covering challenge to save Ndong, and again played as the deepest midfielder. He and Cattermole are yet to play together and could be competing for that berth.

Jack Rodwell

Came close on three occasions but couldn’t quite find the finish. Not as advanced as in recent games but still showed a willingness to get forward.

Didier Ndong

Nowhere near his best at the moment and one poor backpass almost let Livingston in, but more valuable minutes for a player who will be crucial next season.

Wahbi Khazri

Superb again, even if his set-piece delivery was a very mixed bag. A good finish, even taking into account a helpful deflection, and some moments of delightful skill throughout the first half.

Donald Love

Understandably cautious going forward in a more advanced and unlikely to be reprised role. Did make one fine break and pass to tee up Jack Rodwell, who couldn’t quite convert.

Lynden Gooch

Sunderland looked blunt without a striker in the early stages but Gooch forced his way into the game and helped open up Livingston on a few occasions. Some good touches to set Khazri and Rodwell away.

SECOND XI

Max Stryjek

The two saves he made were routine but the Pole, highly thought of in the youth set-up, showed early glimpses of his stature between the goalposts. Recovered well when almost caught in possession far from goal at one stage.

Michael Ledger

An assured first outing at right-back, looked very composed on the ball and dealt with the minimal attacking threat easily.

Thomas Beadling

A big improvement from a tough half at Easter Road, with one particularly impressive block with the score still at 1-0.

Lamine Kone

Looked comfortable again and even made some forays down the field with the ball at his feet. Playing well but these are almost certainly his final appearances in red and white.

Adam Matthews

A very quiet spell at left-back as Livingston rang the changes and struggled for rythmn late on. The sheer number of full-backs on the books is surely a concern for Grayson.

George Honeyman

Not quite clicking for Honeyman in the final third at the moment, again pushed out onto the wing rather than through the middle as he prefers. Still shows for the ball at every opportunity and showing his work ethic.

Lee Cattermole

Not as central to the action as he was at Easter Road but some good challenges and with O’Shea substituted, by far and away the most vocal player on the pitch, talking his younger team-mates through the game.

Elliot Embleton

A quiet performance in midfield but has looked tidy whenever he has received the ball. Will be looking to get more involved near the opposition box in coming games.

Jeremain Lens

Another mixed bag from the enigmatic Dutchman. A peripheral figure for much of the half but another strike of quite sublime technical quality at the end of the game.

Joel Asoro

A well taken goal and a promising start to his pre-season, stretching Livingston with pace no one else in this squad comes close to matching. Physically still has work to do in the coming months and years, particularly to play in such a competitive league.

Josh Maja

Again showed promise with his back to goal, holding off players well, bringing others into play. Nearly scored with a fine strike from distance but faded a touch in the final ten minutes.