Papy Djilobodji is getting better by the game – much to the delight of David Moyes.
But the Sunderland boss is keen to see the defender learn as quickly as he improves.
He’s 27 but he’s playing like a 22 or 23-year-old centre-half at times with his little bit of inexperienceDAVID MOYES
The 27-year-old is a man transformed, having shaken off some unsteady early-season displays to become the form centre-half.
But Djilibodji blotted his copybook at the weekend when he was sent off in the dying embers of the vital 3-0 victory over Hull City.
He had gone through the back of striker Dieumerci Mbokani in the first half when the Tigers were on the counter-attack, earning a deserved booking from referee Lee Mason.
And the official took his name again late on for a trip on Jarrod Bowen, bringing down the sub when there was no need and no danger, with the Hull player 30 yards from goal and the Black Cats three goals up.
It means he will sit out Saturday’s Premier League trip to title contenders Liverpool, a blow to Moyes.
“I thought he played well again,” explained Moyes.
“But it just showed he’s 27 but he’s playing like a 22 or 23-year-old centre-half at times with his little bit of inexperience.
“It comes from games as well, and not maybe being brought up in the culture of ‘Don’t always go tight all the time’ and ‘we’re 3-0 up, what are you going in for a challenge for when it’s 3-0?’ There was no need.”
Moyes at least has John O’Shea fit again after recovering from a hamstring strain.
The club captain, back after limping off against Arsenal last month, came on for the last 10 minutes for Jason Denayer, who is another candidate for the centre-back slot left vacant by Djilobodji’s enforced breather.