What Sunderland should expect from SC Heerenveen - and why victory may be possible

Sunderland face SC Heerenveen in their final pre-season friendly this weekend - but what should they expect?

By Mark Donnelly
Thursday, 25 July, 2019, 11:45
Here's what Sunderland should expect from pre-season opponents SC Heerenveen

Jack Ross’ side welcome the Eredivise outfit to the Stadium of Light on July 27 in their final fixture before the League One campaign kicks-off.

And with the top flight outfit are something of an unknown quantity, we spoke to James Rowe, a Dutch football expert writing for World Football Index, to get his take on ‘De Superfriezen’.

Here’s his views on the club’s key players, style of play and why the Black Cats will be facing a side very much in a period of transition:

THE STATE OF PLAY AND FORM

“Sunderland should expect to play a Heerenveen team that has some very good players, but they have a new manager who is somewhat inexperienced.

“It’s a new Heerenveen and a team which is not very experienced in playing alongside one another.

“They’ve drawn their last two pre-season friendlies, but this is a new team.”

KEY PLAYERS

“The defender, Lucas Woudenberg is a good player and Ben Rienstra, who plays in midfield, is also very good.

“Then there’s Rodney Kongolo, the brother of Terrence, who had a short spell at Doncaster Rovers.”

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THE MANAGER

“Johnny Jansen is the new manager and was assistant to the previous four Heerenveen managers.

“He knows the club inside out, but he will be finding his feet as he’s a somewhat inexperienced manager and he’s managing what is also quite a big club here in the Netherlands.”

THE STYLE OF PLAY

“Jansen will look to continue the club’s mantra as Heerenveen always want to play good, attacking and possession football. They always want to play the ball to feet and look to entertain, especially in front of their home crowd.

“For him, being somewhat inexperienced, it could be interesting to see how quickly he gets his message across.”

THE TRAVELLING FANS

“They are extremely passionate fans and they like to sing their hearts out.

“They have a regular away following who take banners, and it’s a very passionate fan group who want their team to be fighting for European football.”