Jack Ross verdict on George Dobson's debut and what he'll bring to Sunderland
When Jack Ross looked to revamp his midfield options this summer, adding athleticism in the centre of the pitch was a key consideration.
Ross looked to Walsall’s skipper George Dobson to fulfill that role and landed the midfielder at the second time of asking.
Dobson made his Sunderland debut in the disappointing 1-1 draw with Oxford United at the Stadium of Light, one of four new faces making their first league start for the Black Cats.
A bumper crowd watched Sunderland drop two points in their opening League One fixture, forced to come from behind to salvage a point.
One of the few positives was the performance of the quartet of new signings - with Dobson winning praise from the Sunderland boss.
The 21-year-old showed good energy and looked to move the ball quickly though he had a role in Oxford’s goal, Conor McLaughlin taking one touch too many from Dobson’s untidy pass to allow the Us to snatch possession and Tariqe Fosu to score.
While Dobson didn’t make too many inroads on the Oxford defence, there was enough promise in his Sunderland display to suggest he will have a key role to play this season.
And Ross was also pleased with how Dobson dealt with playing at the Stadium of Light for the first time - in front of a bumper 33,000 crowd.
“I was pleased with George,” said Ross.
“The reality is, we've signed a player from Walsall who has just made his first appearance at the Stadium of Light and I thought he handled it brilliantly.
“He was maybe a little bit untidy with the pass for the goal and there were other bits and pieces over the course of the game, but I was pleased with what he gave us.
“I've talked about him giving us athleticism in that part of the pitch, and I thought he provided that.
“He can be satisfied with what he did.”
Sunderland have a free midweek before the trip to Portman Road Saturday to face Ipswich.
Ross will want to see an improved showing, the Scot having been disappointed to see his side drop points on the opening day, too many draws costing Sunderland automatic promotion last season.