Jeremain Lens will prove to be a crowd pleaser in the Premier League after an impressive Sunderland bow, believes fellow Dutchman Patrick van Aanholt.
Debutant Lens was the stand-out performer for Sunderland last night, despite the Black Cats succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers – their third loss in five pre-season outings.
If he stays fit and keeps doing what he did last night, I think he’ll be exciting the fans.Patrick van Aanholt on new signing Jeremain Lens
While the outcome at the Keepmoat Stadium reinforced the need for further recruits before the end of the transfer window, first impressions suggest Sunderland have spent £8million astutely on the capture of Lens, who thrived on both flanks against the League One outfit.
Van Aanholt knows Lens from coming up against him in the Dutch league during his time at Vitesse Arnheim and is confident the opening sight of the 27-year-old in a Sunderland shirt is an accurate sign of things to come.
“That’s Jeremain – he’s quick, strong, got a good shot and can play with both his left and right feet,” said van Aanholt.
“He’ll create chances and can score goals, and I think he showed that last night. He proved to everyone that he’s capable of being a good player in this league.
“If he stays fit and keeps doing what he did last night, I think he’ll be exciting the fans.
“We were both young when we faced each other in Holland, but now we’re playing together.
“He has got experience now and he will definitely make us stronger. He has played for the national team, and he has got the experience, as he showed.
“He has got the individual skills, he is strong and fast and we know he can score goals.
“The manager knew him from his time back at PSV, so they know each other and hopefully he can get the best out of him.”
While defensive mistakes and poor finishing accounted for Sunderland’s defeat, it was at least an improved display from the tired performances produced by Dick Advocaat’s side during their three friendlies in North America.
But despite Sunderland now facing just one dress rehearsal before the Premier League gets underway – Saturday’s trip to Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96 – van Aanholt was not dismayed by the outcome in south Yorkshire.
“It was just another pre-season to get our fitness,” added the left-back.
“You’ve got to get back into shape because it’s a long season ahead.
“Last night was part of that. We lost, but fitness is the most important thing at the moment.”