Six things: Sunderland signings excel plus strong indication Jack Ross has decided on his captain

Sunderland head into the final friendly at Middlesbrough on the back of a morale-raising 6-0 thrashing of St Mirren.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 11:29

What did we learn from the victory over Jack Ross’ former side?

Sunderland rediscover winning feeling

Sunderland striker Josh Maja celebrates his goal at St Mirren.

Following back-to-back relegations, rediscovering a winning mentality will be the biggest challenge facing Ross when the real action gets underway against Charlton on August 4.

Sunderland followed up their 1-0 win over Grimsby with a convincing display against the Scottish Premiership newcomers.

Ross said: “We’ve progressed with every game we’ve played, the calibre of the opposition has improved, and so have the results so I’m pleased about that.

“After all that the club has been through, we need to get that winning habit back - even in pre-season - and the last couple of games is a start.”

George Honeyman passes the armband to Adam Matthews as he leaves the pitch.

Honeyman to be made captain?

The Academy product wore the captain’s armband for the third successive game, having previously been named skipper against Hartlepool United and Grimsby.

Lee Cattermole and Adam Matthews have also worn the armband but with Honeyman making it three in a row, it was the strongest indication yet that he will lead the side.

Honeyman’s future has been a hot topic of debate but as things stand he remains a Sunderland player and Ross may have settled on his new skipper.

Need for strikers clear but Josh Maja stakes his claim

Clearly, the Sunderland squad is at least two experienced strikers short and with the clock ticking ahead of deadline day, frustrations are growing.

However, 19-year-old Josh Maja gave a timely reminder of what he has to offer the side with an impressive display.

Clinical finishes capped an overall impressive display from the academy product. Both goals catching the keeper off guard.

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Plenty to work on but another promising display.

Best Sunderland performance yet but St Mirren were poor

This was to be Sunderland’s toughest test of pre-season and they passed it with flying colours.

St Mirren’s season has already started, with Alan Stubbs’ side involved in the Scottish League Cup.

Sunderland would have expected more of a test. In the end it was easy but Ross will have taken huge positives; Sunderland defensively solid and clinical in attack.

Dylan McGeouch makes Black Cats tick

There can be no underestimating just how important McGeouch is to the way Ross wants his side to play.

Comfortable taking the ball facing the Sunderland goal, turning quickly and looking for a forward pass to get Sunderland moving.

He always wants the ball, the Scotland international has been the pick of the signings and his positivity in possession will be a key weapon.

He wanted to join Sunderland to prove he could cut it in England. So far, so very good.

Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire excel

McGeouch aside, Chris Maguire has been another signing to catch the eye.

He was excellent against St Mirren. His movement superb, involved in several of the goals.

He is not an out-and-out striker and won’t top the goalscoring charts but he will be up there in terms of assists. Maguire didn’t give the St Mirren defence a minute’s peace.

Gooch was also excellent, bagging a brace. A menace throughout. All six goals via players who have graduated from the academy set-up at the Academy of Light.