John O'Shea: Experience matters but Sunderland's young players must learn on job

John O'Shea admits the Premier League is a tough learning ground for Sunderland's younger players and getting their experienced men back will be vital.
Sunderland skipper John O'SheaSunderland skipper John O'Shea
Sunderland skipper John O'Shea

But the Black Cats skipper says it’s important for the club that the promising talent gain the experience and nous.

Sunderland are, not for the first time in recent times, marooned in the relegation zone at the start of the season.

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David Moyes’s side head to stuttering West Ham this Saturday as the only side in the top flight without a win to their name.

The 2-0 defeat at Stoke last weekend highlighted the difficulties Sunderland are going through, gifting the Potters their opening win of the campaign with slipshod play.

“The younger lads are learning the hard way,” said O’Shea.

“Ideally, you want to blood players into the Premier League when the team is confident and doing well.

“They will realise and are learning the hard way, everyone has to.

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“It is the Premier League – if you want to play at this level you have to earn that right.”

The 35-year-old, the team’s senior hand, explained that the players must realise there are times the side must simply dig in.

That bottom-of-the-table battle at the bet365 Stadium was one such occasion, as will the visit to the London Stadium this weekend.

“Working hard and becoming hard to beat [is vital],” said O’Shea, who still thought the Black Cats should have been good enough to clinch a result in the Potteries.

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“We shot ourselves in the foot and conceded early against Stoke.

“The players we had out on the pitch were good enough to get a result.

“If we had performed to the level we could have done, we would have done that.

“I think the experience coming back will definitely help us, though.

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“It is a key element of the Premier League, understanding game knowledge, when to slow things down, keep the ball better, rather than rushing things.

“If we can get that back, it will definitely help us.”

O’Shea reserved the final word for the club’s long-suffering supporters, who sang their way through the entire second half at the bet365 Stadium.

The Black Cats will be cheered on, again, by a full away section at the London Stadium on Saturday.

“It is never a surprise when you see a sold-out away end,” added the Irishman.

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“We hope we can pay them back by getting better results as quickly as possible.

“The management, coaching staff, the team, our families – everyone – we don’t want to be in this position all season.

“We want to be winning games in the Premier League.”