6 things we learned from Sunderland's 2-2 draw with Watford
Sunderland ended an eventful campaign with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road - with plenty to be positive about heading into the summer.
Here’s what we learned from the draw:
Allardyce in charge is good news for youngsters:
With safety secured, the game against Watford was the perfect chance for Allardyce to blood youngsters.
Tommy Robson and Rees Greenwood made their full league debuts.
And both impressed, with the left-back making the biggest impact.
Since taking charge, Allardyce has moved to utilise the club’s younger players with Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford regulars in the first team squad.
The likes of George Honeyman and Greenwood have regularly been part of the matchday set-up too.
That can only be good news for the future development of the club’s younger players.
Watford game chance for DeAndre Yedlin to seal a permanent switch:
Big Sam looked to be giving Yedlin a further chance to stake his claim for a permanent move to Wearside.
Signed from Spurs on a season-long loan, Yedlin initially caught the eye when he signed with his speed and willingness to break forward.
But the defensive side of his game needed work. And there has been a big improvement under Allardyce.
The right-back position is a key priority.
And while Allardyce casts his eye over other possibilities, the club could do worse than signing Yedlin on a permanent basis, as a good squad player, if nothing else.
Last-day cameo for Dame N’Doye but surely his last:
N’Doye was handed a start at Vicarage Road and impressed leading the line but surely it will be his last appearance in a red and white shirt.
N’Doye caused the Watford defence problems, held the ball up well and even had a goal disallowed.
But overall the on-loan striker’s loan stint at Sunderland from Trabzonspor has not been a successful one.
Every transfer is a gamble, clubs have no guarantees players will settle, adapt to a new area or system.
Sunderland struck Gold with Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri all having a major - and instant impact - on the battle against the drop.
But you can’t win them all and N’Doye’s stint would fall into that category.
Loan signings key priority this week:
Ola Toivonen and N’Doye are unlikely to feature again for Sunderland.
But there is a good chance Yann M’Vila and Yedlin could be back in red and white next season.
M’Vila, in particular, wants to stay and he should be the No 1 transfer target to kick-off the summer.
The Frenchman has been a revelation in central midfield and was the favourite for player of the season gong until a post-January dip in form.
Fringe players stake their claim but Lens future unclear:
Allardyce used the dead-rubber at Watford to blood some of the club’s younger players, while also giving some of the fringe players a chance.
Jack Rodwell caught the eye first half and got his rewards.
He dipped second half but his performance won’t have gone unnoticed.
Jeremain Lens, meanwhile, provided one assist and scored but his overall play left a lot to be desired. His muted celebrations spoke volumes.
Sunderland must take end of season form into the new campaign:
It was important to come away with something from Watford, despite the nine changes.
To have ended the season with a hammering would have been demoralising but a second-string side more than matched a full-strength Watford team.
It is imperative Sunderland take their impressive end of season form - which has seen them lose just four times in the league since the start of January - into next year.
If they do, they will have a good chance of ending their annual relegation battle.