WISE MEN SAY: Sunderland v Leicester preview

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MOST Premier League managers resent the international break.

MOST Premier League managers resent the international break.

Regardless of how you as a fan feel about it, it’s not hard to see why.

Many times we’ve witnessed key players return to their clubs with serious injuries and it’s natural for some selfishness to prevail in such situations.

Thankfully for Gus Poyet, and for us fans, Steven Fletcher should be ok after taking a knock for Scotland.

Gus admitted he was very welcoming of the latest break from domestic football, which in itself speaks volumes about the current state of the Sunderland squad.

While most fans and managers across the country were probably wishing their lives away in anticipation for this weekend, the Black Cats gaffer was possibly lamenting the fact some of his injured players didn’t have a little extra time to recover.

In that respect, the game will surely come too soon for Alvarez or Coates to nab a starting place, despite the pair returning to full-time training.

Similarly, some of the Under 21s must have hoped they could have more time under the collective eyes of the first team coaching staff, fully aware that if their time is ever to come then it could be now.

It keeps getting reiterated that some of the younger players will get their chance when (if) the first team sits in a more comfortable league position, thus giving the manager scope to be more proactive with their integration into the first team.

There’s always the argument that if you don’t throw these youngsters in then you’ll never know. The great Sir Alex Ferguson often spoke about how kids will surprise you as to what they’re capable of in such situations.

Granted, the standard of the youth players at Manchester United’s disposal has been higher than what we’re used to on Wearside over the years, but it can be contextualised to midtable clubs.

In fact, I don’t think anyone would argue that the lack of youth players making the step-up is frustrating.

But the standard of the Premier League is tough, and an early mistake in a struggling side could strike a fatal blow to a youngster’s career.

It would take a player with both outstanding abilities and a huge strength of character to overcome any individual mistake or poor performance so early in their senior career, and whether it’s cynicism or realism driving me to think like this – I can’t help but presume that such a player would have forced his way in before now.

Short-termism is possibly the worst thing about modern football, but when managers can indeed lose their jobs after a few bad results, it’s understandable as to why they’re less likely to turn away from the tried and trusted segments of their squads.

With Patrick van Aanholt’s injury situation looking dim, Tom Robson may get his chance to prove all the above to be nonsense. I sincerely hope he does.

As it is, the side will have to soldier on in a similar fashion to how it’s been of late.

Leicester’s poor run of form has suddenly turned this away fixture into a tempting looking one and it’s such a shame that we’re still lacking in some creativity and flair.

How nice it would be for Gus Poyet to be in a situation where Sunderland are sitting comfortably before bringing in Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez to address such issues.

Not to mention being able to drip-feed some of those young kids in to the side.

A win tomorrow could go a long way towards taking us there.

The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can be stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.