After Jan Kirchhoff’s horror show on his Sunderland debut against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, many fans jumped the gun on a player who had played minimal football in the past few seasons and was nowhere near match fit.
One fan even went as far as setting up a petition to send the German back to Bayern Munich.
I, of course, was surprised at just how poor Kirchhoff was.
But I also knew that we should not be expecting eight or nine out of tens from a player that sorely needed match practice in order to get used to a foreign league as well as settling in to his unfamiliar surroundings and new team-mates.
Kirchhoff played in a couple of behind-closed-doors matches between the Tottenham and Manchester City fixtures, even scoring against Sheffield United in a 2-0 win that will have done him the world of good both confidence and fitness wise.
Fast forward to the game against Manchester City and he was used in a midfield role,rather than the centre-back position that he came on to fill at White Hart Lane.
This worked well as the ex-Bayern Munich outcast was calm in possession and protected the back line wonderfully throughout the match.
He even picked up the home side’s man of the match award after the final whistle, despite the unfortunate 1-0 defeat.
His home debut proved that fans were wrong to condemn him after seeing him play for less than one half of football, and hopefully he builds on this performance by continuing in the same manner for the remainder of the season.
God knows Sunderland need a man to take the onus from Yann M’Vila, who must have chronic back pain from carrying his less than stellar midfield team-mates thus far.
* This Sunderland AFC fan blog was written by Jack McGraghan
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