7 players from Scottish football Jack Ross should target for Sunderland
Jack Ross impressed on his official unveiling as Sunderland manager in front of the gathered press.
But now the talking is over, it is time to get down to business, which means leading the Black Cats to promotion.
A key element of any success under the Scot will be recruitment, and, like at St Mirren, Ross will have the final decision on incoming players.
Unsurprisingly, Ross has already been linked with players from north of the border.
Hibernian midfielder John McGinn is an unrealistic target, the Easter Road club having previously slapped a £5million price tag on him, while Sunderland have also been priced out of a move for Hibs’ on loan Swiss forward Florian Kamberi.
Ross will likely want to avoid bringing in a raft of players from Scotland with little experience of the Football League, but there are individuals who would bring quality to the squad, especially young, energetic talent which the Sunderland boss is keen to work with.
Lewis Morgan (Celtic)
There is little surprise that Lewis Morgan has been linked with a move to link-up with his former St Mirren manager.
The 21-year-old will join up with Celtic and Brendan Rodgers for his first pre-season, with the Glasgow giants and see a raft of attacking talent in front of him.
The chance of a loan will come down to Celtic’s thoughts on his development. Morgan plays from the left where Celtic have Scott Sinclair, while Ryan Christie can also player there.
The dexterous forward would bring creativity, vision and a goal threat off either foot to the Sunderland team.
He recently made his Scotland debut against Peru and was one of the bright lights, taking the ball in tight areas, beating players and opening up the South Americans.
Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian)
Forget John McGinn, his midfield partner Dylan McGeouch was voted Hibs’ player and players’ player of the season for the last campaign and will cost zilch.
Hibs have offered the player an attractive contract to renew, but he is likely seeking a new challenge. The 25-year-old has had his injury issues, but was one of the best players in the Ladbrokes Premiership last season, playing the most minutes in his career.
He was previously used as an attacking and shuttling midfielder but excelled at the base of the midfield.
He would bring composure and intelligence to Sunderland. The type of midfielder who appears to have eyes in the back of his head and is capable of making the right decision almost all the time.
Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock)
An argument could be made that Jordan Jones is the most exciting player in Scotland.
The Middlesbrough native, once on loan at Hartlepool United, has taken massive steps forward in his development since moving north, going to new levels under Steve Clarke at Kilmarnock.
Ross has previously spoken of wanting his attacking players to be positive in the final third and take risks. Jones would fit into such an ethos.
He can play on either wing or through the middle and is keen on taking players on with his dribbling and pace.
No player dribbled the ball more than Jones last season, while he added greater consistency in the final third.
John Souttar (Hearts)
At the age of just 16, John Souttar started a Scottish Cup semi-final for Dundee United against Celtic at centre-back.
Despite looking like he took the wrong turn when nipping out for lunch on his break at school, he stood out for his composure.
Over the last five years, with more than 150 appearances under his belt, plus a Scotland call-up and recovery from a serious Achilles tendon rupture, Souttar – who rejected a move to Sunderland while a tyoungster at Dundee United – has grown in stature as a defender.
There have never been any doubts about his footballing ability, but questions marks persist over his defensive solidity. The past campaign, however, has seen the defender impress more with the nitty gritty side of the game.
Plus, there is still scope for plenty of improvement.
Chris Cadden (Motherwell)
A player of similar ilk to ex-Hearts star Callum Paterson who thrived in the Championship with Cardiff City last season.
Chris Cadden has all the physical attributes to handle himself in the Football League. He simply requires direction and refinement.
The 21-year-old has been pinpointed as a promising talent since breaking through at Motherwell.
What has perhaps held his development back is the fact he is so versatile, playing in every outfield position bar the centre of defence.
Long-term, he should develop into a combative box-to-box midfielder. He would provide Ross and Sunderland with energy and dynamism, whether as a full-back, wing-back or centrally.
Glen Kamara (Dundee)
If it wasn’t for Glen Kamara, Dundee may not be a top-tier club in Scotland. He has been that vital for the Dens Park club.
Manager Neil McCann wants his side to play out from the back and Kamara is one of the few players comfortable taking possession, no matter the situation, and passing it accurately.
The past campaign was the 22-year-old’s first in competitive football, having come through the academy at Arsenal, and he was called up by the Finnish national team within a few months.
He may leave some fans with their heart in the mouth, but he is exciting to watch as he takes the ball under pressure and slaloms away from opponents.
His ability to break the lines with his passing and dribbling can be crucial against tight and compact opponents. He is often found lacking in the final third, but is adept at getting the ball there.
Jason Naismith (Ross County)
Imagine the boulder from the famous scene out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If that boulder was a footballer, it would be Jason Naismith.
The right-back, when he gathers momentum driving forward, is almost impossible to stop.
He will be well known to Jack Ross having come through the youth system at St Mirren, where he played games as a centre-back. But he has excelled at right-back.
He may look lumbering at times, but he is a powerful runner and comfortable in possession.
Despite suffering relegation with the Staggies last term, he was widely viewed as one of the best full-backs in the Scottish Premiership.
His height adds to the presence of the team in either boxes and he can deliver excellent crosses.