The FIVE players Sunderland may regret releasing - as they prepare to battle a familiar face

A “breathtakingly good” John Egan starred in Sheffield United’s 2-0 Premier League win at Everton on Saturday . . . five years after Sunderland let him go for nothing.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 18:00 pm
Sunderland will be reunited with John Egan tomorrow evening

Hailed by Sky Soccer Saturday pundit Charlie Nicholas for his performance at Goodison Park, Egan is so important to the Blades that he may be rested when they host the Black Cats in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night.

Yet the now 26-year-old Irishman left the Stadium of Light without making a senior appearance, claiming then-Sunderland manager Gus Poyet “never spoke to him” and did not know who he was.

With Jack Ross and his men now struggling to impress in League One, Egan – who really established himself at Brentford before a £4m move to the Blades – looks like ever more like the proverbial one who got away.

But which other players should the Black Cats also now regret allowing to leave too soon?

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We look at others who were shown the door on Wearside, and might now be welcomed back with open arms.

Conor Hourihane

Another Republic of Ireland international, Hourihane was also released without making a senior appearance for Sunderland.

The midfielder’s rise up the leagues was similar to Egan’s and having also gained promotion to the Premier League last season - with Aston Villa – he is playing top-flight football.

Martyn Waghorn

Waghorn made six Premier League appearances for the Black Cats without particularly impressing before he left for Leicester City in 2010.

But after two successful years at Rangers, Waghorn – now 29 - scored 17 goals in two Championship seasons for Ipswich Town and Derby County.

Jak Alnwick

The goalkeeper left for rivals Newcastle United in 2008 and has had a solid career in the English Football League.

The 26-year-old is currently on loan at Blackpool from Rangers and he is going well, having kept three clean sheets in 10 League One games.

James Talbot

The Irish goalkeeper joined Sunderland’s academy in 2013 and left in 2018 without making a senior appearance.

He has revived his career at Bohemians in the League of Ireland and received a senior Irish international call-up in May.

Now, at only 22, Talbot is attracting interest from English clubs and could return to haunt Sunderland.