Charles N'Zogbia: How did ex-Newcastle and Aston Villa midfielder fare on Sunderland debut?

Charles N'Zogbia probably knew his chances of winning a contract at Sunderland were up when he looked towards the bench in the second half.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 11:46 am
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2016, 12:54 pm
Charles N'Zogbia

Sam Allardyce, the man who allowed him to train with the club this pre-season, wasn't watching after failing to emerge from the tunnel before making a swift exit from Hartlepool United's Victoria Park ground shortly before 9pm.

Allardyce, of course, is due to be named the new England boss today - and N'Zogbia's chances of landing a deal appear to have gone with him.

N'Zogbia is currently on trial with the club and was part of 11 halftime changes, with the former Aston Villa and Newcastle United midfielder getting 45 minutes under his belt.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland, by that stage, were already 3-0 up thanks to a brace from Jermain Defoe and a Whabi Khazri goal.

It was a more even affair second half, as Pools fought back against a youthful Sunderland side and it is fair to say N'Zogbia didn't exactly catch the eye.

The 30-year-old was the oldest Sunderland player by some distance second half, ending the match with the captain's armband.

Free agent N'Zogbia - released by Villa at the end of last season - was deployed in an advanced midfield role against Pools, playing behind Duncan Watmore, but he had little impact on proceedings.

N’Zogbia made just two appearances for Villa last season as he wound down the final months of his estimated £50,000-a-week wages at Villa Park.

Sunderland attempted to sign N’Zogbia prior to his move to Villa but then Black Cats boss Steve Bruce was unable to strike a deal in the summer of 2011.

Sunderland, of course, are yet to make a summer signing, much to the growing angst of supporters.

The FA's protracted pursuit of Allardyce cast a shadow over Sunderland's pre-season, with the club understandably in no position to sign players, with so much uncertainty over who would be in charge come August 13 at Manchester City.

But N'Zogbia is unlikely to be the first permanent signing of the summer.

The Frenchman showed little of what he is capable of and on the evidence of last night hasn't done enough to suggest it is worth pursuing any further.

It wouldn't be a big surprise if he was given more game time in France next week, if he travels with the squad, given the limited options available at the moment.

But with a new manager due to be in place by then, an extended stay on Wearside for N'Zogbia looks highly unlikely.